18th March 1966: A young boy and a man looking at the Jules Rimet world cup trophy during a British stamp exhibition. (Photo by M. McKeown/Express/Getty Images)
On March 20 1966, the World Cup was on show at the National Stamp Exhibition in Central Hall, Westminster, London…
…and then it wasn’t.
The £30,000 solid gold Jules Rimet trophy disappeared while a church service was taking place in another part of the building.
A diagram showing how the World Cup was stolen from the exhibition site in Westminster Central Hall, 22nd March 1966. The thief entered via the Matthew Parker Street entrance and made his way past the Harmer Rooke stamp stand to the cabinet containing the cup. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The BBC reported:
Thieves removed the cup from the “Sport with Stamps” display at the Stampex exhibition, but stamps worth £3m were left behind. At least two guards were in the hall at the time of the theft…
Cup Finals. Chile. Brazil’s Garrincha on return from Chile with the Jules Rimet trophy after the Final.
Jules Rimet 1932
Pele with the Jules Rimet 1962
Delegates from current cup-holders Brazil left the cup in custody of the Federation of International Football Association (Fifa) last week. The trophy was to be the centre-piece of the World Cup tournament being hosted by Britain later this year.
30th July 1930: Jules Rimet, president of FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football), presents the first World Cup trophy (the Jules Rimet Trophy) to Dr Paul Jude, the president of the Uruguayan Football Association, after Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in the first ever World Cup final in Montevideo, Uruguay. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Vice-chairman of the Football Association Council, Jack Stewart, declared:
“We are responsible for it in the end because we are the organizing association.”
A policeman stands guard in Central Hall Westminster, next to the stand at the National Stamp Exhibition where the Jules Rimet trophy was housed before it was stolen, 21st March 1966. The World Cup competition is to be held in England later in the year. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The famous trophy was found Pickles, a mongrel dog, out for a walk with his owner, on 27 March in south London.
28th March 1966: Jeanne Corbett with Pickles, the dog that found the stolen Jules Rimet World Cup trophy when out for a walk with owner David Corbett in Norwood, south London, shortly before the World Cup in England. (Photo by Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Pickles became a star. (He was bigger than World Cup Willie, the official mascot of the 1966 World Cup.)
Pickles, the dog who found the stolen World Cup trophy, is offered a part in the comedy film ‘The Spy with a Cold Nose’, 29th March 1966. With him are (left to right) actor Eric Sykes (1923 – 2012), Pickles’ owner David Corbett, screenwriter Ray Galton, Pickles’ owner Jean Corbett and screenwriter Alan Simpson. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Later that year England won the World Cup.
In 1970 Brazil was allowed to keep the trophy for ever, after winning the competition for the third time.
The Jules Rimet cup was stolen again in 1983 – in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It has never been recovered.