The FA Cup Trophy Awarded From 1896 to 1910 Sells at Bonhams

• A UK vehicle registration number, LFC1, sold for £125,000

The oldest surviving FA Cup, presented to the winning teams between 1896 and 1910, sold at Bonhams' Spectacular Sporting Trophies & Memorabilia sale in London today (29 September) for £760,000. The buyer wishes to remain anonymous. The trophy had an estimate of £700,000 - 900,000.

Separately, a UK vehicle registration number, LFC1, sold for £125,000.

The 8-lot sale made a total of £906,750 with 93% sold by value.

Managing Director of Bonhams Knightsbridge, Jon Baddeley, said, "This legendary cup is such an important part of the history of the national game. As expected, it generated a lot of interest and some spirited bidding at auction before the hammer fell."

The trophy was in use from 1896 until 1910 and was awarded to many famous teams including Manchester United, Manchester City, Everton, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur. Realising that no patent had been taken out on the design, the Football Association withdrew it in 1910 and commissioned a new cup – a forerunner of the one in use today.

The FA presented the withdrawn cup to their President, Lord Kinnaird, in recognition of his 21 years of service. (Lord Kinnaird was also a formidable football player, appearing in a record nine FA Cup Finals). The trophy remained in the Kinnaird family until 2005. Until recently, the privately owned cup has been on loan to the National Football Museum in Manchester, where it has formed part of the display.

An astonishing piece of football history, the trophy charts the transformation of the game from one initially dominated by public school players to the popular mass participation sport that it became and remains.

In addition to the names of the winners of the competition from 1896-1910, the cup also carries the names of the 1872-1895 winners. This is because the very first FA cup, was stolen in 1895 and never recovered. The list of winners of the stolen cup includes Old Etonians, Oxford University, the Royal Engineers and Wanderers. It was not until 1883 that the cup was won by a team – Blackburn Olympic – with its roots in the working-class communities of the north of England. It was this victory by Blackburn Olympic that marked a decisive moment in the history of the game as the dominance of teams comprising former pupils from English public schools waned.

The silver two-handled cup was made by Vaughton & Sons, Birmingham, in 1896 and its cover is surmounted by a figure of a footballer with a football at his feet. A note on the underside reads 'Made By/P.Vaughton & Sons/Birmingham/1896/From A Cast Of The Old Cup/Which Was Lost.'

The FA Cup is the oldest national football competition in the world, and the final attracts a world-wide audience of millions. In the words of the late Sir Bobby Robson, "The FA Cup final is the greatest single match outside the World Cup final - and it's ours." The qualifying rounds of the knock-out competition usually start in August with League sides joining, according to level, from November onwards. The final is played at Wembley, usually in May of the following year. The Cup provides teams from the lower leagues and non-league football to play against the very finest clubs in England, and to earn, often much-needed, extra gate receipts. This has led to many giant-killing acts, most famously perhaps when in 1989, Sutton from the Conference League, defeated top division Coventry, which had won the cup 18 months earlier. The score was 2-1.

The cup was contested for on 15 occasions before being retired and subsequently presented to The Right Hon. Lord Kinnaird in 1911. First time winners of this actual trophy include Manchester City, Manchester United, Everton, Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur to name but a few. Below are listed the details of each final this cup was played for with all the matches taking place at the Crystal Palace with the exception of the replays of 1901 (Burnden Park, Bolton) and 1910 (Goodison Park, Liverpool).

Sheffield Wednesday defeated Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 in front of 48,836 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN AND FIRST MAJOR TROPHY WON BY THE CLUB.

Aston Villa defeated Everton 3-2 in front of 65,891 spectators. Villa became only the second team ever to win 'the Double' this year of the Cup and Football League First Division Championship Trophy.

Nottingham Forest defeated Derby County 3-1 in front of 62,017 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN AND FIRST MAJOR TROPHY WON BY THE CLUB.

Sheffield United defeated Derby County 4-1 in front of 73,833 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN BY THE CLUB.

Bury defeated Southampton 4-0 in front of 68,000 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN AND FIRST MAJOR TROPHY WON BY THE CLUB.

Tottenham Hotspur defeated Sheffield United 3-1 in the replay at Burnden Park, Bolton in front of 20,470. The first match had ended in a 2-2 draw and had drawn a then record crowd of 110,820. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN AND FIRST MAJOR TROPHY WON BY THE CLUB.

Sheffield United defeated Derby County 2-1 in front of 33,068 after the first match ended in 1-1 draw in front of 76,914 spectators

Bury defeated Derby County 6-0 in front of 63,102 spectators.

Manchester City defeated Bolton wanderers 1-0 in front of 61,374 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN BY THE CLUB.

Aston Villa defeated Newcastle United 2-0 in front of 101,117 spectators.

Everton defeated Newcastle United 1-0 in front of 75,609 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN BY THE CLUB.

Sheffield Wednesday defeated Everton 2-1 in front of 84,594 spectators.

Wolverhampton Wanderers defeated Newcastle United 3-1 in front of 74,697 spectators.

Manchester United defeated Bristol City 1-0 in front of 71,401 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN BY THE CLUB.

Newcastle United defeated Barnsley 2-0 in the replay at Goodison Park, Liverpool in front of 69,000 spectators. The first match had ended in 1-1 draw in front of 77,747 spectators. FIRST F. A. CUP FINAL WIN BY THE CLUB AND LAST CLUB TO WIN THE FAMOUS 'LITTLE TIN IDOL'.

Brief timeline of the Football Association Challenge Cup:

Cup first awarded in 1872. Wanderers beat Royal Engineers 1 - 0. Stolen in 1895 and never recovered. The theft took place from the window of a Birmingham shop when it was on loan from Aston Villa which had won it that season (Villa were fined £25 – the cost of the cup's replacement). Alas, unlike the theft of the World Cup in 1966, there was no keen-nosed dog to hunt the cup down, and it was never seen again.

Replacement cup based on the original design is commissioned by the F A. In use until 1910 when presented to FA President Lord Kinnaird. Bonhams is offering this trophy for sale.

FA commission a larger cup to a new design. This was in use until 1992.

An exact replica of the 1911 cup was made, but taken out of service when it showed signs of wear.

2014-present day
A new, heavier cup comes into use. It, too, is an exact replica of the 1911 cup.


Related auctions