Have you been given the task of ordering a new annual trophy for your club? Maybe an ancient cup has run out of space and there is no room to squeeze on another name. Or perhaps a long-standing club member has died and a relative wishes to purchase a perpetual cup in their memory.
In this post we’ll explain why choosing the right trophy is more important than you might think. Get it right and you will have an annual award that will last years and look great throughout. Get it wrong and it can be a costly mistake and soon look rather tatty.
What is an annual trophy?
An annual trophy is one that is presented year after year. Sometimes it is handed over to the winner to look after for the next twelve months. One event I attend these awards are presented each year and a photograph is taken for posterity. Then the more valuable trophies are taken back to the castle they came from for safe keeping until the next time!
How to choose the right award
Think about how many years you want your perpetual trophy to last
If it is a one-off giveaway then it is best with a square base to take an engraved plate. If it is to be engraved every year with the winners’ names, please consider buying a cup with a removable metal band. This is designed to lift off for engraving, rather than placing the whole cup in a vice and possibly damaging it.
If the cup with a round base you have chosen doesn’t already come with a removable band, please think about purchasing one for it. Although the black plastic or Bakelite base can be engraved, this becomes brittle with age and can easily become damaged in the vice. It is also a false economy, as most trophy engravers charge more for engraving a black base directly, then filling it with white wax. Over the lifetime of the cup this could easily equate to the cost of buying a band.
If it is just to be titled but not engraved year after year, then the shape of the base is not so much of an issue. It is worth remembering though that a flat engraved plate is likely to cost far less than engraving the curved surface of the cup.
Consider your budget when choosing your new annual trophy
Economy Trophy Cups.
These are shiny inexpensive alloy cups, usually mounted on a square marble or weighted plastic base for stability. They are best suited to one-off trophy presentations and can have an engraved plate added to the base. Although sometimes used as a perpetual trophy (annual trophy) we try to steer our customers away from these if they want to add names to them each year. They swiftly become tatty and as the plate needs to be removed each year for engraving this can be an issue. The tape holding it cannot be too strong, otherwise the plate is easily bent or damaged removing it for engraving. Too weak and people complain about it falling off all the time!
Nickel Plated Cups.
Nickel plated cups are stronger than the economy cups, look as good as the silver-plated cups, but are generally slightly less expensive. As they are non-tarnish, they are also easier than silver-plated cups to keep clean and stay looking good over the years. Engraved nickel plated cups make an excellent alternative to silver plate as a perpetual or annual trophy cup. Pick one with a round base and a plinth band if you want to engrave it every year or pay a little extra to add it. As mentioned above, it can earn its keep over the years. If you do not intend to engrave it year on year, then the square-base nickel cup will work just as well.
Silver Plated Cups.
You won’t find many silver plated annual cups on the market with a square base. Most engraved silver plated cups have a round base with an optional plinth band for the names to be added each year. These are plated onto a base metal, usually brass or copper. You get what you pay for with silver plate, the higher the price, the thicker the silver plate tends to be. They also have a longer guarantee on the more expensive ones. Those tatty cups with yellow patches that just don’t ever seem to clean up properly have probably been polished a little too efficiently over the years and worn through to base metal!
Sterling Silver Cups.
Sterling silver cups are by far the most expensive and for those with deep pockets. Your trophy engraver may have a catalogue showing prices at the time of publication, but these would need to be checked at the time of purchase, as silver prices fluctuate so much.
Do speak to your local trophy engraver about custom trophies.
When accepting that kind offer from a club member to make and donate a trophy for the club, it is worth asking them to hold off (if not too late) until they or you have spoken to your trophy engraver. It can save a lot of time and trouble later, as your engraver can suggest the best way to ensure it is suitable. A beautifully lathe-turned hardwood base is a nightmare to attach plates to! A custom-made plinth band is extremely expensive, but your engraver can sell you a standard-sized plinth band for you to pass to the wood-turner, who can then turn the wood to fit it. Be sure to ask them to make the base detachable so that the band can slide off for engraving if possible.
Avoid using glass as a perpetual trophy if you can.
Sometimes here at Classy Glass we are asked what awards are suitable to be engraved each year as a perpetual trophy. The answer is not a lot! Most glass perpetual awards are unlikely to stand being placed in and out of a machine to be engraved each year. Many trophy shops do not engrave glass, so it may be difficult to find someone to match the engraving year after year.
You may be able to choose a glass item with the option of a base to take the engraving. It is best to speak to your engraver for some friendly advice to ensure you buy the right one. We do sell a couple of awards that have removable sections for engraving.
There you have it, everything you need to know about choosing the right trophy. If this is the first time you have been given the task of arranging to have the club trophies engraved, you may find another of our articles of interest; 15 Trophy Engraving Tips to Consider.
If you are looking for inspiration, head on over to our online trophy shop to see what we have to offer in the way of annual trophies.