Presented to Hibernian Football Club by the Edinburgh Football Association in 1881 in recognition for being the outright winners of the first ever Edinburgh Cup and the Second XI Cup in three successive seasons.
Hibernian first took part in the Edinburgh Cup in 1877, a tournament inaugurated only the previous year, losing 2-1 to the previous year's finalists, Thistle, in the opening round.
The following season they again faced Thistle in the competition, gaining revenge for the previous season's defeat, winning 4-0 at the semi-final stage. The victory meant Hibs now faced Hearts in their first cup final encounter, the first final between two sides destined to be fierce rivals. After four draws at various venues throughout the city, it required a fifth game to separate the sides, Hearts eventually winning 3-2 at Powburn. Regardless of the obvious disappointment felt on the day, it would be Hibs last on-field defeat in the competition for ten years.
In the early days of the competition it was contested over just three rounds, but as it gained popularity over the next few years, it was eventually expanded into first four, and then five, and ultimately six rounds to include sides from West Lothian and Fife.
In the 1878 final, their first as winners, Hibs gained sweet revenge over their Edinburgh neighbours for the previous season's defeat. This time it required only one replay, the game being played at Union Park in Corstorphine, and it was perhaps only fitting Michael Whelehan should be the first Hibernian captain to be presented with silverware.
Hibs second success was surrounded in controversy. Despite comprehensively defeating Dunfermline 6-3 in the final, the Fifers protested the Edinburgh side's supporters had encroached onto the pitch whilst play was in progress. Surprisingly the appeal was upheld and a replay ordered. This decision did Dunfermline little good however, this time losing 5-0 in the rearranged game at Powderhall.
A slender 1-0 victory against St Bernard's in the following year's final after a 4-4 draw in the first game, meant Hibs had now won the trophy for a third year in a row and consequently were allowed to retain possession of the cup in perpetuity.
Coincidentally, Hibs second team had also won the Reserve Cup three years in succession and they too were allowed to keep the trophy. Both cups were placed in the vaults of St Patrick's Church for safekeeping, and with few exceptions, have remained there until now.
A new trophy, the Edinburgh FA Shield, later known as the East of Scotland Shield, replaced the Edinburgh Cup the following season. Hibs won the inaugural trophy by again defeating St Bernard's in the final, and apart from an off-field dispute in 1883 when Edinburgh University were awarded the trophy after Hibs had been unable to fulfil the fixture in that year's final, the greens, by now playing at the first Easter Road, would not lose in the Shield final for the next four years.
Hibs finally lost a record which had stood for ten years when going down to Mossend Swifts in the 1888 final. It was the beginning of the end. Although they had won the Scottish Cup for the first time the previous season, defeating Dumbarton in the final, circumstances over the next few years, including the loss of several players to the newly formed Celtic, the withdrawal of the lease of Easter Road, treasurer McFadden absconding with the club funds, and not least, the death of Canon Hannan in 1891, would see Hibs withdrawing from the league in the summer of that year.