The oldest surviving FA Cup - which was made after the previous one was stolen from a bootmakers in Birmingham - has been sold for a world record price for an item of football memorabilia.
The cup, made in 1896 as a replacement for the trophy won by Aston Villa in 1895, was bought for £478,400 by a telephone bidder at an auction at Christie's in central London.
Midland teams had virtually owned the previous cup, with Villa, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers winning it five times between them in the eight years before it was stolen.
It was taken from the shop window of William Shillcock, a football and boot manufacturer in Birmingham, who had been displaying the trophy. It is believed the cup was melted down after it was stolen.
However, West Midlands football's golden age continued throughout the lifespan of the second FA Cup.
It was presented to winning teams between 1896 and 1909 - and was held aloft in victory by Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Everton, Nottingham Forest and Manchester City, who all won the competition for the first time in that period.
Wolves narrowly missed out on claiming the cup on its debut in 1896, when they lost to Sheffield Wednesday 2-1, but Villa took it back to the Midlands the following year after a 3- 2 victory over Everton.
Villa and Wolves both won the cup again before the Football Association decided to replace the trophy after it realised it did not own the copyright on it when the then holders, Manchester United, produced a replica.
The redundant cup was then presented to Lord Kinnaird to mark his presidency of the FA for more than two decades.
It is one of only four cups produced for England's most famous annual footballing competition, which began in 1871, and is the only one to have come up for sale to date.
The price of the cup, which included the buyer's premium, beat the previous record set in 1997 when a copy of the Jules Rimet World Cup sold for £254,500.
David Convery, head of the sports memorabilia department at Christie's, said the buyer of the cup had asked to remain anonymous.
Speaking about the auction, he added: "It was thrilling. Football sales started in 1989 and this is by and large the most impressive result.
"It illustrates the growing strength of the sporting memorabilia market and I was incredibly pleased to be able to offer for sale football's greatest prize."
The FA Cup was the star lot of hundreds of football memorabilia items sold yesterday by Christie's.
Artefacts up for sale included players' shirts from the turn of the century and modern stars, and other items including programmes and medals.
Former England international Alan Ball auctioned his 1966 World Cup-winning medal and cap at the sale.
At 21, Ball was the youngest member of the England squad and was outstanding in England's victory over West Germany in the final.
The player's winning medal made £164,800 - a world record for a football medal and an item of memorabilia from the 1966 World Cup.
Ball's cap made £43,200- the highest price for a footballer's cap, surpassing Geoff Hurst's 1966 World Cup cap which was bought for £37,600.