antique silverplate trophies repaired and polished

 Vintage & Antique Trophy Repairs

Hawkins Vintage Trophy with yellow discolored lacquer and broken handle.
Hawkins vintage trophy with handle repaired and refinished. 

Vintage Trophy with Yellow Aged Lacquer  and Broken Handle  - Repaired & Refinished

This vintage trophy arrived with aged, and yellow lacquer. After the lacquer was removed you could see the original silver plate color. Then I spent a great deal of time rebuilding a section of the handle that was lost.  By using sterling silver,  the rebuilt handle could match the silverplated finish.
Finally, the handle was attached. Here is a link to examples of step by step trophy repair. 

Vintage 1933 Silverplate Athletic Trophy broken
Vintage silverplate athletic trophy repaired and  polished

Vintage Silverplate Athletic Trophy

This vintage silverplate athletic trophy from 1933 arrived broken where the trophy cup attaches to the base. One of the handles was also pulling off because the trophy cup was out of round.  The silverplated white metal was very soft and thin so I created a tapered brass tubing for core support along with additional structural elements (not visible) to hold the cup upright. At the juncture of the cup to the base, I added a sterling silver wire to conceal and strengthen the solder joint. Then the silverplating was carefully polished. There was a lot of wear on the silverplating from a hard life and many previous repairs, however the final result is very rewarding. This trophy retains all its 84 years of character.

This Louis W. Greve Air Race Trophy was lacquered silverplate 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. The disadvantage of lacquer is that the customer can not polish the trophy themselves.

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

This trophy was truly magnificent historic example of an airplane trophy at 25" in height.

Antique Silverplate Trophies 


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.

antique silverplate trophy broken and base painted chipped and worn
antique silverplate trophy restored, polished and base repainted

Antique Silverplate Trophy with Base

This antique silverplate trophy arrived broken and missing a part. The owner did not realize a part was missing because the trophy was previously repaired badly with a mishmash of epoxy, glue, putty and pitch along with 20th century trophy parts.  It took hours & hours to remove all the various glues and previous attempts at repair. I did the best possible job to polish the remaining silverplating. The base was also repainted. The final result is a remarkable improvement.

Repair of antique or vintage trophies is outside of the skill for do-it-yourself, or a trophy shop. Glue never works on metal. The best thing about glue is the advertising. Period! Don't use glue to repair antique or vintage trophies.  

Silverplated trophy with broken handles, lid, broken finial


This 100 year old silverplate trophy cup arrived very badly damaged. The handles were completely ripped off leaving gabbing 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 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.

Repairing Figurative Athletic Trophies 

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, disassemble 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

ATHLETIC TROPHY FIGURES often  break at the ankles

Vintage Athletic Trophies are very vulnerable to breaking at the ankles. 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 painted the repair to match the worn vintage plating. The repair is completely invisible. 

running trophy broken 20th century metallic plating
athletic trophy broken at the base is repaired 

Athletic Runner Trophy Broken and Repaired

The running figure trophy from 1987 was broken at the base.  The metal did not want to solder, but I kept trying because it had great sentimental value to its owner.  It took hours to repair and then I used a metallic imitation gold leaf to conceal the repair.  

1949 Baseball Athletic Trophy repaired after severe damage

Baseball trophy repaired

This 1949 Baseball Trophy arrived with damage to the athletic figure and the plastic base was badly broken. It's humble origins make repair all the more challenging, but I did the best I could to bring this trophy back to life.

The damage to the baseball hat was rebuilt; the plastic base was glued back together and the plastic was carefully polished; the front label was polished and lacquered. All the glue from previous repairs was removed. 

The customer said, "I got home today from traveling for the holidays and found the trophy you restored.  I am speechless as I look at it.  The work you did was beyond my expectation.  It looks wonderful."