One of the best feelings is knowing you accomplished something you dedicated time and effort to conquer. It doesn’t matter if it was during the Greek Archaic period when they first coined the term tropaion or in 2022. You could have seen victory in the Colosseum or won the fifth-grade spelling bee. Regardless, it feels good to win. However, winning wasn’t everything. Humans have a sense of pride and a desire to be recognized, which is why a trophy was created.
Whether it was a rudis given to a gladiator or a Championship Trophy from a fantasy league, trophies have taken many shapes and sizes over the years and have always meant something. People who possessed them were lauded for being the best in their field. It’s why we often look to display those accomplishments and awards to view—not just for others, but yourself as well.
Receiving a Trophy Makes Us Proud.
Trophies do much for our mental health by encouraging beneficial habits helping us to achieve success. Meanwhile, they remind us of the endorphins created when hoisting and displaying the award. It’s a big reason why everyone now gets a trophy as a kid, even if they didn’t win.
For us as adults, one thing has become clear: A striking trophy, superb plaque, distinguished ring, or lionized belt is an award, not a reward. A respected individual or group gives you an award to mark an achievement while you’re handed a reward for a service or effort. Much like our ancestors, we have to conquer a task or challenge to receive prestige. In doing so, you rise above all others; otherwise, what’s the point?
There have been incredible trophies and awards across history—all with different meanings. In sports, it started with the Carlisle Bells in 1599. For the U.S. Military, the Medal of Honor was established in 1861. Meanwhile, professional awards include the Golden Globes in entertainment and the Collier Trophy in aviation engineering.
Across the map, trophies bring recognition to the best, honoring illustrious performances.
Dating back to ancient times, trophies could take many forms. Statues, columns, thrones, and even the crowned olive branch were variations marking significant victories. However, what are the top recognized award and trophy combinations today?
10. The Grammys
After the first Grammy Awards rolled out in 1959 by the Recording Academy, musicians and artists in the entertainment industry would die to get their hands on the mounted gramophone. By recognizing “Outstand Achievements in music,” they created a standard for the gifted to compete in four primary awards: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist.
9. The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy
Some awards are based on accomplishments, while others note recognition. There are trophies whose legend is recognized due to the magnificent construction, while others are remembered for the ones who held it. The Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy has a unique combination of everything.
Some of the best memories and biggest stages have been set around the NBA Finals, as it arguably has some of the most extended drama. Sixteen teams face off in a seven-game series in which multiple organizations could play in all seven on their way to the finals. Buzzer-beaters, momentum-shifting plays, and physical rivalries all play a part.
For all the effort put forth, the exhausted tribulations result in the winning team with a 24-inch, 15.5-pound masterpiece. The sixth-month project constructed with sterling silver is finished with 24-karat gold vermeil, leaving you with a perfect reflection or hundreds of fingerprints—pending on when it’s your turn to hold it.
8. Barclays Premierr League Trophy
Talk about weight; don’t plan on hoisting the Barclays Premier League Trophy over your head for too long. Standing at three-foot, five inches, this mammoth weighs nearly 60 pounds. The detail put into the “Three Lions of English football” is incredible. Meanwhile, the trophy itself is cast from sterling silver and the crown of 24-carat silver gilt. Although there are only two lions above the handles, when one lifts the trophy above his head, it means to signify the third lion, completing the trio.
This trophy’s credibility has just as much to with its enormous size and quality as it does detail and thought process behind it, making the award so much sweeter.
7. The Booker Prize
Most would rank the Booker much higher due to the award’s prestige. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is awarded to authors publishing some of the best novels within the past year. Unfortunately, the crystal plaques are arguably somewhat bland, but still a significant accomplishment to possess one.
6. The Stanley Cup
Sorry to those sports fans who wanted the Lombardi to be the top one listed. It is one of the most physically remarkable trophies between the impressive size and engravings. The stories of people eating and drinking out of it while partying make it so much better. However, with the NHL being one of the least-watched leagues globally, it isn’t easy to rank above the following due to its prestige.
5. The Lombardi Trophy
There are not too many awards one could receive where the ring they take home starts at the price the average American makes. That’s right, the championship ring for the Super Bowl winners starts at an estimated $30,000 while the average median income is just over $31,000. However, the bling is just the start.Tom Brady Tosses the Lombardi Trophy During Super Bowl Boat Parade
The Super Bowl champion also receives $150,000 for each player as they hoist the Lombardi Trophy (or toss it to another boat during a parade… or use it as a bat during the Red Sox opening game). The trophy isn’t quite like throwing a football as it weighs about 6.7-times more, sitting at almost 21 inches. It takes roughly four-month to assemble the awing, sterling-silver award.
4. The Medal of Honor
Some victories are about the money. Others are about throwing every ounce of selfishness away, as you sacrifice your own well-being for others. The unwavering devotion put forward by the ones who won the Medal of Honor is held in the highest regard in terms of what it means to be a human.
Sometimes it's not about what you receive, but more about what you give to allow others an opportunity for a future.
3. The Academy Awards
Ask Bugs Bunny; there is nothing like the Academy Awards. The longest current standing accomplishment internationally recognized, the Academy Award has been heralded for nearing a century. It’s outlasted depressions and survived wars. Every year people in the film industry compete to win the most coveted trophy across all media outlets: The Oscar.
The solid bronze sculpture plated in 24-karat gold is heavier than the Lombardi, standing at just over a foot tall. When it comes to a trophy, the Oscar is the standard.
2. The Nobel
The Nobel Peace Prize is the top achievement that can be won in multiple fields. Those fields consist of Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Medicine, and Peace. The award is so elusive, only four people have received it more than once. The winner of the Nobel Prize receives a significant amount of money, along with a diploma and an illustrious medal. The medal is struck in 18-karat green gold, plated with a 24-karat gold feature including an image of Alfred Nobel.
1. The Dundies
Exclusivity has to be taken into account and a limited supply available at such a prestigious paper supply branch needs to be considered. Michael Scott was the creator of this god-like award which needed no money attached to carry value. The brilliance behind the Dundies could be emphasized by the yearly presentation held at the heralded Chili’s in which multiple categories were covered.
Many will remember the unrivaled stretch of wins by Ryan Howard lasting five years for Hottest in the Office. Few will forget the Bushiest Beaver Award conquered by Phyllis Vance during the 8th annual Dundies, or the Promising Assistant Manager Award getting trashed by Dwight Schrute during the 14th.
The memories, fame, and constant attempts to duplicate the Dundies will forever rank them as the best award to ever go down in the history of mankind.
How will you celebrate your claim to fame? Go check out TrophySmack to find the best trophies, belts, rings, and other great awards worth celebrating!