thrifted goodies – vintage trophies and awards

Hello friends!  Welcome to the next installment of thrifted goodies! If you enjoy thrift shopping and love the thrill of the hunt, then, this post is for you. Vintage trophies are full of character with many stories and history to share. Trophies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, which lend themselves to many decor styles.

vintage trophies

The Thrifted Goodies series consists of monthly posts where Rachel from the Antiqued Journey and I share thrift store goodness. Topics might include particular finds, tips, techniques and general advice about thrift shopping in general.

Rachel always finds amaZing thrifted pieces, and you don’t want to miss her latest post. If you don’t know Rachel yet, make sure to hop over, introduce yourself and check out her Thrifted Goodies – Volume 14 post.

thrifted goodies volume 14

Today I am sharing some trophies and | or awards I have found while thrift store shopping. I always find the engraving to be so interesting. The engraving not only adds character to an otherwise normal piece, but the wording is always so thought provoking.

vintage trophies

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vintage trophies date themselves

The great thing about trophies and awards is that they literally date themselves. Trophies usually have the date engraved in them along with the award name and other information. While thrift store shopping I am always conscious of the details of a piece. The maker, the era, the condition, etc. are all important to take notice.

vintage trophies

The age of an item usually dictates the price tag along with the condition and the selling venue. Since thrift stores are probably one of the lowest priced selling venues for second hand items, I found these pieces at reasonable prices. Garage sales would also be a great place to find these items at a lower price point (if folks are willing to part with them).

vintage trophies

The pieces I have found are from the following years: 1931, 1953, 1974 and 1997. It involves a wide range of decades, but all qualifies them as “vintage”, since the rule of thumb tends to be anything over 20 years old is vintage, while anything over 100 years is considered antique. Although I call myself a vintage soul, I am sad to say I think I might be getting closer to an antique. But hey, at least I am not a relic…yet. 😉

fun details on the vintage trophies

Although, I have not had the good fortune of finding a large trophy with the perfect trophy cup profile at a thrift store, I have found other items like a vase and a tray. Every time I find a beautiful, stately trophy cup it’s at an antique market, faire, or shoppe and they are always priced higher than I am willing to go.

vintage trophies

I will continue to hunt for the perfect piece which is waiting patiently out there somewhere for me. Remember to always have that mental list of things you are looking for. You never know where you will find them. Make a list in your notes on your phone right now, and you will always have the list with you.

vintage trophies

I love the engraving on the pieces I have scored. Decorating with them seasonally is always the best! They are unique pieces, which can be used in a multitude of ways.

a trophy silver vase

This trumpet vase trophy is the oldest piece I have found. It is engraved on both sides. One side reads: “Presented byWeber Institute #49 Y-L-I Stockton Council #5 Y-M-I for Best Y-L-I Entry July 12, 1931 Stockton Cal”

vintage trophies

Other side reads: “Won By California Institute No. 1 Y-L-I Capt. Bernice McLaughlin”. How interesting is that? I don’t know if this Y-L-I is the Youth Leadership Institute, which a quick google search retrieved. It’s in California regions so it seems promising. Homework for another day, when I have more time and more curiosity.

a trophy silver pitcher

I also found this pitcher at an antique faire in Petaluma, CA and consequently I paid more than I would have at a thrift store. But the nice seller sold it to me with the turkey feathers. Those turkey feathers are everything! I love decorating with feathers this time of year so it was perfect for this project.

vintage trophies

Actually it was the feathers that drew my eye to the pitcher at first, and then I noticed the etching with the award inscription. It reads: “Ocala Charity Horses Show 1953”. It’s very concise and succinct.

vintage trophies

a silver tray award

This tray actually drew me in because it’s square. And then I saw those little feet, but when I saw the inscription, I was sold. This tray reads “AWGA Club Champion 1974”.

I have so many silver trays, which I have collected through the years. Round- many; Oval- a few; Rectangular- a few more; with feet- yes please, but Square? This is the only one. The fact that it has an award engraving is simply a bonus, since it was coming home with me either way.

vintage trophies

a French plaque award

The last trophy | award I have to share is actually a plaque from France. We sold these at Whim House and they came in all sorts of sizes and colors. I was attracted to this one 1) because it was yellow and 2) because 1997 is the year I got married.

vintage trophies

Based on google translate the plaque reads: “Erve Valley Festival 1997 Female Cross 6 Teeth Grand Prize of Honor”. Not quite sure what that all means. I think something is lost in translation, but I believe most of the awards were centered around livestock competitions. What I do know, is that I love how it looks in our home and 1997 will always resonate with me.

French plaque award

styling trophies and awards

My new favorite spot to decorate with vignettes is the new to us outdoor sideboard I recently refurbished. In case you missed it, you can read all about it here {an old, shabby dresser refurbished into an outdoor sideboard} and here {storage solutions & details of a DIY outdoor sideboard}. I styled the vintage trophies with some fall feels to get in the mood for the upcoming season.

vintage trophies

Preserved mushroom stems, feathers and other organic elements give the silver trophies warmth and texture. I love the refined silver pieces with the rustic organic accents. This is the first fall-ish decor project I have done for the year. I am still walking the tight rope between fall feels and summer vibes. It’s a tough balancing act and Labor Day weekend is looming, which should tip me right over. I will have more fall stylings coming your way soon.

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vintage trophies

The funny part is that the piece that prompted this post is not necessarily a trophy. But the piece has the perfect trophy cup profile. See that handled urn with the cotton stems and flower pod, hanging out with all the other trophies and awards?? Well it’s just a plain Jane. No engraving, no award, nothing. Just a curvy, pretty handled urn with trophy cup aspirations.

vintage trophies

On my last thrift store shopping outing, I found this pretty piece. I love the curves and shape. It totally caught my eye and it reminded me of all trophy cups I covet. By using other pieces that look like trophies and have trophy like profiles, you can round out a collection and compliment real, engraved trophies.

vintage trophies

On a personal note, I have a couple of pieces from my parents, which although were not “won” in a competition, but were certainly earned in living the good life. One is a tray for my parent’s 20th anniversary engraved with my mom’s initials and years of marriage.

metals II – sterling silver

The other piece is from when my Dad completed 25 years of service at Citibank and earned the Quarter Century Award. Citibank was the first job my dad ever had, and he retired from Citibank 46 years later, which is unheard of nowadays. Both of these pieces are sterling silver which also differentiates them from the thrifted silver plate pieces.

metals II -sterling silver

more thrifting goodness inspiration

Don’t forget to visit Rachel @ The Antiqued Journey for more thrifted goodies inspiration. Also if you want to see more vintage trophy stylings, check out my Pinterest collections board. Below are previous posts in the Thrifted Goodies series.

vintage trophies

get the vintage trophy & award look

“Man gives you the award but God gives you the reward.” 

DEenzel Washington

sharing @ between naps on the porch


  1. MaryJo,
    I love these vintage trophy cups but I did have to chuckle because Joe still wants me to dig his Junior High Basketball trophies out of the attic to display and they are NOT pretty cups like you have!! LOL!

    1. Lol! I know what you mean. I have all my kids’ trophies and you’re right. Not so pretty. 😉 thanks for the visit. XO- MJ

  2. These are SO pretty, MJ!! you have found some amazing trophies and awards and they all pair so nicely together, especially for Fall!!

    1. Thanks Rachel!!! Yeah this started my Fall decor and now I am ready. I think. Lol. XO- MJ

  3. MaryJo these are FABULOUS!!! I love the one you have from your Dad too how cool is that. These are just gorgeous, and now on my must-find list while thrifting! xo Tanya

    1. Thanks Tanya! Yes, the thrift wish list is never ending. 🙂 XO- MJ

  4. Donna says:

    Your collection of vintage trophies looks so pretty! Very nice display! It’s great that you have special pieces from your parents! Happy thrifting!

    1. Thanks so much Donna! XO- MJ

  5. Cara says:

    I love the pieces from your parents, you are so right, folks just do not stay at the same employer for their entire career, although, I do know two people who have so far. I love these trophies MaryJo, I used to look for them myself, but they were always out of my price range. I love the way they made things in the past, so beautiful, even simple trophies. We have some from the 1950’s, but they are not cups. They were my husband’s grandfathers’ trophies; I recently found a place for them. When I am finished with the room, I will share them. This room has taken me on an interesting journey, something I thought would be so simple to complete, and nearly a year later, I am still working on it. I knew the new direction is where this room needed to go in though. I love your style MaryJo, you always have such amazing finds!

    1. Thanks so much Cara! Your comment totally made my day. I can’t wait to see the room! XO- MJ

  6. annafromskylarkhouse says:

    Hi MaryJo – I LOVE collecting old trophies. I love the way you created a beautiful fall vignette using trophies and the items you filled them with. (Feathers, dried mushrooms, cotton stems, etc.) Thanks for the inspiration and for the information.

    1. Thanks so much Anna! XO- MJ

  7. annafromskylarkhouse says:

    One more thought – those trophy pieces for your parents are priceless. Both occasions they celebrate are truly remarkable.❤️

  8. Laurie says:

    Interesting collections you have there!

    Thanks for sharing these at the Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop!


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