An Ivor Novello music award has been found in a metal scrapyard in Croydon, in south London, during a police operation to tackle metal theft.
The bronze statuette appears to have gone missing about 16 years ago but was not reported stolen at the time, the Metropolitan Police said.
Officers also seized 500kg of stolen BT telephone exchange batteries and three stolen push bikes during the raids across London.
Twenty-one arrests have been made.
The awards, which are presented by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), honour excellence in song writing and composing.
They have been presented for 58 years with former winners including Elton John, Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams and last month Emeli Sande.
Vick Bain, executive director of BASCA, told BBC London she was pleased the award would be coming back and was not melted down.
She said the same person, Mike Wilson, had made the statuettes for about 40 years and was able to confirm it was made between 1995 and 1997.
In 1997 the organisation moved central London locations from Hanway Street to Berners Street, but the statuette never made the move, an employee remembered.
The statuette was made as a demonstration model and was not intended for an artist, Ms Bain said.
The award, a model of Euterpe, the Greek muse of music, has had the same design for 58 years but the finish and materials tend to change.
Up to 48 can be made each year.
Ms Bain added: " We will definitely keep a greater amount of security on it. It will be great to have it back."
In total, 7,621 metal crimes were reported during 2012 costing an estimated £11m, Scotland Yard said.
This is down from 10,181 reported offences in 2011, costing £13m.
The Met's Acting Inspector James Coomber, said the reduction in the reported crime was because of "scrapyard visits, road checks and search warrants".