The Yankees’ interlocking “NY” logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in all of sports. The pedigree of the logo is exceptional as well, having been designed by the famous jeweler Tiffany & Co. However, the logo was not originally designed for the Yankees.
Tiffany & Co. first opened its doors in 1837 as Tiffany, Young, & Ellis, a “stationery and fancy goods emporium” in lower Manhattan. In its early years, Tiffany manufactured much more than jewelry; in fact, during the Civil War the company supplied the Union Army with swords, flags, and surgical instruments. In 1877, Tiffany was commissioned to create a medal of honor for the New York City Police Department, which at the time was going through a very dark period due to the politics and corruption of Tammany Hall. Tiffany designed the interlocking NY logo and struck it on the medal, which was then given to John McDowell, the first New York City policeman shot in the line of duty.
In 1903 the Yankees moved from Boston to New York, and by 1909 they were still looking for a signature insignia (and a name—at this point they were called the New York Highlanders). One of the club’s owners, Bill Devery, was a former NYC police chief, and remembered the symbol that appeared on Tiffany’s medal of honor. That year they adopted the Tiffany interlocking NY logo, and the rest is history.
Tiffany & Co., who celebrates their 175th anniversary this year, has several ties to the sports world; they created the rings for the 2010 World Series, and the are the makers of the Major League Soccer championship trophy and the Vince Lombardi Trophy, given out at the Super Bowl each year.