North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • author • Rick Tucker
  • original publication date • 7 November 2022
  • update date • 7 February 2023
  • contributors
    • Charlotte Booth (Robert Welch company)
    • Patrick Barrie (ETwA)
    • Stew Sage (ETwA) 
    • CUTwC website

[To be provided.]

In 1960, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip commissioned a tiddlywinks trophy from the Robert Welch Studio at Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds in England. This trophy came to be called the Prince Philip Silver Wink.

The 15½-inch tall trophy was presented by Robert Welch to the English Tiddlywinks Association in January 1961.

The Silver Wink trophy is awarded to the winner of the all-British universities series of competitions, starting in 1961.

[The commission] clearly inspired something in Robert, there are rarely so many sketches for a trophy. It must have been quite exciting for a young designer, only 5 years in his own studio to be receiving a commission on behalf of royalty.

The top of the trophy consists of a ring with a large rotating silver wink inside it.

One side of the silver wink is engraved the phrase HONI SOI QUI MAL Y PENSE. around the top. The castle with three turrets in the center of the same side of the Silver Wink represents a castle in Edinburgh, Scotland, which also appears in the lower right quadrant of the Duke of Edinburgh’s full Coat of Arms 

The other side is engraved THE SILVER WINK across the center and PRESENTED BY H.R.H. THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH around the top. The silver portion of the trophy is mounted on a rosewood base. Robert Welch’s mark is engraved on the outside of the silver base, just above the rosewood base.

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The Prince Philip Silver Wink
designed and produced by • Robert Welch
photograph source • Charlotte Booth
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The rotating Silver Wink • side 1
Coat of Arms of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh
photograph source • CUTwC website
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Robert Welch mark (from another silver item)
photograph source • Charlotte Booth
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The rotating Silver Wink • side 2
photograph by • Rick Tucker

Robert Welch ledger.

Tiddlywinks Trophy


Designing and making of trophy in Silver and Rosewood, engraved with Coat of Arms for The Duke of Edinburgh. • £ 125

Less 10% payable to the Crafts Centre • £ 12 / 10

The Silver Wink trophy is awarded to the winner of the British universities competitions, involving many universities in addition to Cambridge and Oxford.

The English Tiddlywinks Association has a separate trophy for the Cambridge vs. Oxford competition called the Varsity Trophy.


Tiddly-winks in abstract

That Is the description by silversmith Mr. Robert Welch of this trophy, which he designed to the commission of the Duke of Edinburgh for the tiddly-winks match played annually between universities of Oxford and Cambridge [editor's note: this is incorrect; see the article below] in aid of the National Playing Fields Association. it was made at Mr. Welch's workshops at Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. The "wink" part of the 15½ in. silver trophy is engraved with the Royal coat-of-arms. When spun, it always finishes with the coat-of-arms uppermost.

A picture in this paper of the inter-university Tiddlywinks Trophy, presented by the Duke of Edinburgh for the annual competition, has brought me a letter from Mr. J. K. P. Walker, a Huddlesfield man, now in his final year at Edinburgh University. Mr. Walker, who is taking an honours history degree course, writes on authority on the subject of Tiddlywinks and the Duke of Edinburgh's trophy, for he is an ex-President of the Edinburgh University Tiddlywinks Club, and as he penned his letter to me, the "Silver Wink" trophy was "sitting handsomely" on his desk, to use his description. "The idea of the competition originated in this room," Mr. Walker writes from the HQ of the EUTC. "Prince Philip" offered to present a trophy for the first International Match between England and Scotland, played in Edinburgh last May, but, since we already had a trophy, I suggested that he might like to encourage inter-varsity competition. "To this idea, the Duke was most amenable and the result was the Silver Wink." Mr. Walker points out that the competition is not, as is sometimes thought, just between Oxford and Cambridge. It is carried out in four areas, Oxford Region (including Bristol), Cambridge Region (including London), Manchester and the North Region, and Scottish Region.

Silver Wink • First Competitions

H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh has presented a very fine trophy, a mounted silver wink, to be competed for between all the winking Universities in Britain. For the preliminary stages of this competition, certainly the most large-scale and ambitious project ever attempted in the field of Tiddlywinks, Britain was divided into four regions, each of which held its own elimination contests. In the Edinburgh region, Edinburgh defeated Newcastle by 82 pts to 30, and then went on to beat Aberdeen by 90 pts to 22 in the Second Round. In the absence of any further response from Scottish Universities, Edinburgh move into the Semi-Final. Further South, Manchester University had even less opposition in reaching the Semi-Final. The only opponents they could find were the newly-formed Hull University team, whom they beat convincingly. This lack of winking activity in such important places as Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, & North Staffs is rather unsatisfactory, and rapid steps must be taken by those with friends at any of these Universities to see that the situation is promptly remedied. Much more encouraging was the response in the Oxford region, where eight Universities or University Colleges competed for the place in the Semi-Final. In the first round, Bristol beat Exeter “easily” (quote), Swansea and Cardiff had walk-overs because of “the incompetence of British Railways” (quote again!). Finally Oxford beat the very young club at Reading by 86 pts to 26. In the second round, Bristol beat Swansea by 58 pts to 33 in a match abandoned through lack of time, and Oxford overwhelmed Cardiff by 90 pts to 22. This left Oxford to play Bristol, and in a match again curtailed owing to shortage of time, Oxford won their place in the Semi-Final by a 56 – 35 victory. There is less detailed information from the remaining quarter, but it appears that Cambridge established their right to a place in the Semi-Final by victories over London, Southampton, Leicester and Nottingham. As a result of these preliminary rounds, Oxford were to meet Cambridge in one Semi-Final, and Manchester to play Edinburgh in the other Semi-Final. At the time of writing, only the first of these two matches has been played and a full report will be found later in this issue. It is planned to hold the Final in Manchester [I]n March.