The World Cup is a gold trophy that is awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup for international soccer (globally known as football). Since the advent of the World Cup in 1930, two trophies have represented victory: the Jules Rimet Trophy from 1930 to 1970, and the FIFA World Cup Trophy from 1974 to the present day.
The World Cup trophy, was originally named Victory. It was later renamed in honor of former FIFA president Jules Rimet. The Jules Rimet Trophy was made of gold plated sterling silver and lapis lazuli (a relatively rare, semi-precious stone that is prized for its intense blue color) and depicted Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Brazil won the trophy outright in 1970, prompting the commissioning of a replacement.
The Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen in 1983 (apparently melted down by the thieves) and never recovered. The replacement trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was first used in 1974. The World Cup is made of 18 carat gold with a malachite (a green-colored copper carbonate mineral) base. This green-colored base, it depicts two human figures holding up the Earth. The bottom side of the trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974.
The 18-karat-gold statue has been kept under lock and key at an undisclosed location since its predecessor, the Jule Rimet Trophy, was stashed under a bed during World War II, held ransom. After 1970, a new trophy, known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was designed. The experts of FIFA, coming from seven different countries, evaluated the 53 presented models, finally opting for the work of the Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga. The new trophy is 36 cm (14.2 in) high, made of solid 18-karat (75%) gold and weighs 6.175 kg (13.6 lb).
This new trophy is not awarded to the winning nation permanently. World Cup winners retain the trophy until the next tournament and are awarded a gold-plated replica rather than the solid gold trophy.
In trying to determine the value of the world cup it has been said that the trophy would probably be insured for its replacement value, rather than its value to a collector. The cost of the 18ct gold – roughly 75% pure – multiplied by the cost of gold at the time, and then add on the manufacture or sculpting costs, and you have a new World Cup. So, a new World Cup trophy would cost about £98,182 (approximately $12,000) plus design and labor. However the cost of the trophy is really immeasurable.
The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month – this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).