Vintage & Antique Trophy Repairs

This Louis W. Greve Air Race Trophy was lacquered but the lacquer was starting to break down causing large areas of black tarnish. In addition, the lacquer was starting to yellow and discolor so that the trophy was no longer a brilliant silver color.

Removing the lacquer took hours and hours, the biggest challenge was getting it out of the detailed border design.

This trophy was truly magnificent at 25" in height.


These antique silverplate trophies had gold plated interiors but they arrived so dark and tarnished is was hard to tell how well they would turn out. The lacquer applied to the silverplate had yellowed and started to break down. In addition, two of the handles were broken.

First I removed the lacquer, repaired the handles and then polished both the inside and outside of the trophies. It was essential to be very careful so that I didn't polish through the plating. With this approach it was not necessary to replate the trophies saving the customer money. Most important, but the original gold plating in this deep rich yellow color would be extremely expensive and hard to replace. The trophies aren't perfect, but I think that when an object is 100 + year's old, it is part of its character to have a little wear.

Silverplated trophy with broken handles, lid, broken finial

This silver plate trophy cup arrived very badly damaged. 

The handles were completely ripped off leaving gapping holes in the body of the cup. When the handles broke off they also damaged the top edge where the handles are attached. A 1/2" piece in the rim of the cup was missing. 

The trophy cup was also crushed in half, and bent over on the stem so badly it wouldn't even stand up for the photo. (I had to start straightening it up just to take a picture.) The lid was also crushed in badly and the finial on the lid was broken off.

The trophy was 100 years old and a family heirloom. The customer wanted to keep it looking like it had "character." My goal was to repair the cup, handles and lid without replating. It was a lot of work but it looks fabulous!


This silverplate water pitcher was a trophy. (Notice the screws below the feet.) Unfortunately, the owner took it to a welder for repair and he melted two sections of the handle instantly. Taking silverplate or sterling to a welder is a mistake. A welding torch is too hot! Welders do not have the skill or tools for working on sterling and silverplate objects. 

This water pitcher trophy is silverplate on a "white metal" that melts at a very low temperature. When the customer brought this water pitcher about a 1/2" at the top of the handle and about 1" at the bottom of the handle were missing. As you can see the handle was also hollow and very thin.

 I reconstructed the handle with low temperature solder "carving the repaired area" to resemble my guess at the original shape. Fortunately, the silver plating was in good enough condition. The trophy looks amazing.

Athletic trophy with athletic figures broken is now repaired.  

This mid-century trophy was 21" tall. The figurines represented football, tennis, track, swimming, baseball and basketball. 

When the customer brought in this trophy four of the athletic figurines were broken at the ankles. 

The athletic figures were made from lead so they were relatively easy to repair. I think they were originally brass plated, so I painted the repair a similar color.

How did the trophy figurines get broken? It seems that the trophy was shipped as one unit. It is surprising that more of the figures weren't broken as the trophy was very heavy and the figures were fragile. 

If you ever have to ship a trophy with this type of athletic figures, dissassemble it completely, and protect each figure in either bubble wrap or better yet, a small box.

Vintage athletic wrestler trophy had both ankles broken
Football trophy with athletic figure

Vintage Athletic Trophies are very vulnerable to breaking. The figures are usually either lead or pot metal making them very heavy, yet the metal is not strong and very brittle. This wrestler trophy and the football player trophy both broke their legs at the ankles.  After the repair I paint the metal to match the worn vintage plating. The repair is completely invisible.