It’s the world’s most important sporting event. On 11th July, one team, one country, will get to hold the 36cm, 18 carat gold World Cup trophy high above their heads.
Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, who said he is not a diehard football fan himself but does watch the World Cup final to see his trophy raised, designed the current trophy in 1971. At the time, the trophy cost about US$50,000. Today, the trophy is worth over US$10 million.
“I didn't think it would become so important, particularly to young people, or that it would come to represent peace,” Gazzaniga said. “I'm very proud to have done my little bit to help spread peace in the world through sport. Sport brings people and nations together, and is much more important than many of us believe.”
Cash4Gold, the world’s number one gold buyer direct from the public, recently said that the trophy has almost doubled in melt value since the 2006 World Cup in Germany. The rise in the price of gold has meant that the melt value of the trophy has gone from US$96,476 to an astonishing US$187,761. Melt value is the amount of actual precious metal contained in an item that can be extracted and recycled by a company such as Cash4Gold, and does not account for decorative, artistic or historic value.
“Football trophies are obviously of more than monetary worth to fans and teams,” said Jeff Aronson, CEO and founder of Cash4Gold. “And Fifa would probably have something to say if Fabio Capelllo sent in the trophy to Cash4Gold should England win!”
Even though it is quite valuable, the trophy is also quite simple. The football, at the top of the trophy, is similar to the world, with the human figures emerging at the base supporting it.
“I didn't want to add too many details, as it would've cheapened the sculpture and lessened its impact,” Gazzaniga said. “So I did the sculpture all at once, although there were things to refine later. I would modestly suggest that this intense affection for the Trophy comes from the object itself, and what it stands for. It is a symbol of victory, and they're thrilled to have won it, which is why they kiss it as they would kiss a religious relic.”
Fifa said that the trophy is insured, but the cost of it is immeasurable because its value could far exceed the replacement cost. While the cost of a replacement for the trophy can be insured, an additional sum may offered as a reward for its safe return and the conviction of those who had taken it, in the event that it is stolen or lost.
At the end of the World Cup, the winning team does not take the trophy home. But rather, it remains with Fifa, while the winners get a gold-plated replica to keep.
The Italian captain, Fabio Cannavaro, lifts the World Cup trophy in 2006 after defeating France on penalties.