A football tradition stretching back 51 years will be continuing at this year’s Carling Cup Final, courtesy of one of the world’s top bespoke medal makers, based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
Both the winners and losers in Sunday’s contest will receive medals made at Vaughtons, where medals for the trophy’s finalists have been made since the contest, originally known as the Football League Cup, first kicked off in the 1960-61 season and was won by Aston Villa.
The firm’s partnership with the Football League dates back even further, with Vaughtons making medals to order for the football body for 111 years.
Vaughtons’ medals are made using traditional techniques that have altered little since the firm was established by Howard Vaughton back in 1819.
Managing director Steve Hobbis said: “We use traditional methods on the basis that if they work we don’t need to change them.
“There are some things you can’t improve on.
“In line with traditional methods the cutting of the die is still done by hand and it is all done with a craftsman’s skill.”
Mr Hobbis likened the medal manufacturing process to a simple child’s toy like a Play-Doh press where ‘coins’ or other flat objects with a design imprinted on them can be made.
“You put a piece of silver or gold down and the press comes down with a bang – between 300 and 400 tons of pressure to be precise,” he said.
Sunday’s lucky winners will receive medals made from 9 carat gold, worth around £500 each, while the runners up get silver medals that are gold-plated.
The design of the medals for the trophy, commonly known as the League Cup, remained unaltered until two years ago when a new design was adopted that features the new Wembley stadium.
Outside of the special orders for events like the Carling Cup Final business remains brisk at Vaughtons, testament to the fact many people opt for “the best” when it comes to celebrating winners and special events, according to Mr Hobbis.
“Fortunately we have still got the likes of the Football League, who still want good quality British products and support British manufacturing,” he said.
“There’s a definite difference in quality, particularly in our industry.
“It is not just a cheap job from abroad and that has always been the case.
“Some people have gone abroad for the cheaper option but they have come back.
“You get what you pay for – if you pay a lot you get good quality.
“Imports were a threat but were not quality and I think things have changed a little bit.
“In this particular market demand hasn’t dropped off, we have remained busy all the way through.
“People will always want something good, there always seems to be a market there.”
Although Vaughtons are not involved in making the winners’ medals for the Olympics, that honour has gone to the Royal Mint, the company did make commemorative medals for the 1908 London Olympics.
The company also specialises in making mayoral chains of office for local authorities and has also made medals for the Premier League, the Six Nations rugby tournament and the recent European Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham.