Until 1970, the first World Cup Trophy, the Jules Rimet, used to be awarded for temporary guard, every four years, to the latest winner of the cup. The rule was, as it still is, that the nation who’d win it three times would get to keep it for good. It arrived in England in 1966 temporarily owned by Brazil, winner of the previous 1958 and 62 tournaments.
Right before the competition started in July, it was stolen by a well-known small-time crook, who wrapped it in old newspapers and hid it under his house. That’s where it was found by Pickles, the Scotland Yard detective’s dog, who was literally given a bone as an award for the recovery. A funny story that dominated world headlines for a brief time, before falling into history’s dustbin.
England went on to grab its first victory and took the trophy to Mexico, four years later, where it was snatched for good by that tournament’s winner, you guessed, Brazil. And that would be that, hadn’t been for a weird coda.
In 1983, the Jules Rimet was stolen again from the office of the Brazilian soccer confederation, never to be recovered. Investigators believe it was melted down for its (low) value in gold. FIFA gave Brazil a replica soon after, which remains in the country under tight surveillance.
To Jules Rimet, the FIFA president who organized the first World Cup, in 1930; to Pickles, who died the following year, and the English team, heroes of 1966, and to Brazil, who won and lost the original trophy for good, our most sincere (and amused) cheers.