All sports fans know what it looks like, and players on the team that wins the Cup are excited about getting to spend a day with the iconic symbol. While the Stanley Cup is priceless in many people’s opinions, it’s actual value isn’t as high as you might expect. Here’s a look at the Stanley Cup and its value.
The history of the trophy
In 1892, Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston purchased the original bowl-shaped trophy, which he intended to present to the “champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada..”
What did he pay for the trophy? 10 guineas, which was roughly the equivalent of $50 at the time. The original bowl was 7.28″ tall and 11.42″ in diameter.
The current Cup is much bigger, at 35.25″ tall and weighing more than 34 pounds. The current iteration of the Cup, which is the bowl sitting atop three-tiered bands, a collar and five uniform bands at its base, was first introduced in 1958 and improved slightly five years later.
What makes the Stanley Cup unique
Unlike most sports’ championship trophies, the NHL doesn’t make a new Cup every year. Instead, the same Cup is used year after year, and the names of the players, coaches, management, and other staff members on the Cup-winning team are inscribed on the bands of the Cup — a tradition that began in 1906-07, when the names of the Montreal Wanderers were engraved within the inner bowl, one of just two teams to have their names inscribed in that location.
As new teams continuously get added to the Cup, the engravers run out of room and the rings must be removed as they fill up. When needed, the oldest ring is removed and preserved at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and replaced with a blank ring that is placed on the Cup.
The NHL employs official engravers who inscribe the names on the Cup, and there have only been a handful of those engravers in the last century. Occasionally, a team or player’s name is misspelled on the Cup, but those errors are rarely corrected.
There are actually multiple Stanley Cups, with a replica of the “presentation cup” that was crafted in 1993 that is used as a stand-in for the real thing at the Hockey Hall of Fame when the actual Cup is on the road. The Stanley Cup travels, with members of the championship squad each getting a day to spend with the Cup.
How much is the Stanley Cup worth?
While the Cup is largely considered to be priceless, its actual value is $650,000. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of money considering the stature and the iconic nature of the trophy, it is the most valuable trophy of the four major pro sports leagues in North America — and it’s not even close.
The next most valuable championship is the Lombardi Trophy, awarded to each year’s Super Bowl winner. The sterling silver trophy, created by Tiffany and Co., is worth $50,000.
The Commissioner’s Trophy, which goes to each year’s World Series-winning team, is silver and features 30 gold-plated flags representing the 30 Major League Baseball teams. It is also created by Tiffany and is worth approximately $19,000.
Then there’s the NBA, which awards the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy annually to its champion. The Tiffany-created silver trophy is valued at $13,500. But, like the Stanley Cup, those trophies are priceless for the teams that win them.