In ancient Greece, the winners of the Olympic games initially received no trophies except laurel wreaths. Later the winner also received an amphora with sacred olive oil. In local games, the winners received different trophies, such as a tripod vase, a bronze shield or a silver cup.
In ancient Rome, money usually was given to winners instead of trophies.
Chalices were given to winners of sporting events at least as early as the very late 1600s in the New World. For example the Kyp Cup (made by silversmith Jesse Kyp), a small two-handled sterling cup in the Henry Ford Museum, was given to the winner of a horse race between two towns in New England in about 1699. Chalices, particularly, are associated with sporting events, and were traditionally made in silver. Winners of horse races, and later boating and early automobile races, were the typical recipients of these trophies. The Davis Cup, Stanley Cup, America's Cup and numerous World Cups are all now famous cup-shaped trophies given to sports winners.
Today, trophies are much less expensive, and thus much more pervasive, thanks to mass produced plastic trophies.
Read more about this topic: Trophy
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