The first ever Shield was played for in 1897/8 on 19th March, and was originally designed to be an annual event between the best amateur and professional team of the year. The six foot trophy was one of the largest ever to be competed for in the professional game.
In 1908 the Shield evolved into the Charity (or Community) shield competition that is still played to this day between the league winner and cup winner prior to the beginning of a new season.
The trophy was provided by Thomas Dewar, and the competition was used in order to raise money to be distributed amongst hospitals and other charities.
Amateur club the Corinthian Casuals held onto the shield for many years when the competition was changed in order to feature only professional clubs. It was played for in their centenary year, in a celebration match with Watford who beat them 6 – 1.
Fortunately for Corinthians, Watford decided to let them keep the trophy. Soon after they were given the opportunity to buy their own ground, and in order to meet the running costs the original shield was sold at auction to an anonymous American bidder, and has not been seen in the UK since despite numerous requests from the FA to display in at exhibitions around the country.