January 26, 2015

If you’re not a member and participating on Net54baseball.com, you’re missing a golden chance to discuss a wide range of sports memorabilia topics including championship rings with other enthusiasts.

championship rings

Michael, a sports memorabilia collector from Oklahoma, asked two great questions, here’s the first – “I know virtually nothing about rings which is the purpose of my post. I know a ‘recreated’ ring is the closest thing to the original but how does the value of a recreated ring compare to original?”

Michael, sometimes collectors don’t know when championship rings are recreated, or go through a minor or extensive repair, and this happens more times than you would think. Sometimes as a result of a repair, the ring might wind up looking different. The original ring recipients (not the new owner should the ring be sold) have a lifetime warranty and often send rings back to the manufacture for repair.

It can be a simple repair such as a resize, or something much more complicated, say a crack in the onyx stone that needs to repaired by taking apart the top of the ring, then replacing the stone, and finally assembling the ring again.

To answer your first question, championship rings are so scare and in demand with collectors, that a properly recreated ring will not be detectible with the exception of a very few knowledgeable collectors and will go for about as much money as an original ring. And an original championship ring in need of repair will go for less money.

If you wish to avoid buying a championship that has been repaired, the easiest remedy for this, is for collectors and bidders to do as much research as possible about the original championship ring (it does not have to be the same person’s ring being offered for sale). Furthermore in researching all you can about original rings and the ring in question, potential buyers should obtain blow up photos.

Often, a ring repaired or remade years later will have different stampings inside the ring. For instance a Jostens stamp inside a ring from the 1960s looks quite different than one from today.

If an auction house deals with a repeatable and honest consignor, they will specifically mention the ring was repaired or remade. This could result in a slightly lower price since that could turn-off a potential buyer or two. However, as I mentioned above, as long as the ring looks like it is supposed to look, a slightly lower price is often avoided.

John Sterling, the Yankee announcer who lost his Yankee championship rings this week in a fire, is lucky in the sense that the Balfour rings he lost will be remade perfectly since Balfour has all of the original molds from the 1990s through today. Should John Sterling ever decide to sell these replacement rings at auction, they would go for a lot of money, even though the general public would probably be informed the rings were remade.

Michael’s second question: “Would a recreated ring have any physical characteristics to distinguish it from original? “

Michael, Unfortunately, sleazy dealers, such as Irv Lerner, use the excuse (especially with fake salesman samples) that Jostens or Balfour “lost the mold while moving” as his standard response when asked why his supposedly “real” salesman samples look a little different than original championship rings.

In doing research and speaking with the Yankees and Balfour, I have learned that there is some truth in that statement, although many collectors have been burned by Irv Lerner with fake rings over the years.

When vintage championship rings from the 30′s, through the 70s need to be repaired or recreated, the original molds and parts are sometimes long gone. Both Balfour and Jostens have been sold throughout the years and their factories have moved many times and molds were lost along the way.

Other situations where rings would look different, is when the original ring company is long gone. I own an Oakland Raider Super Bowl II ring that has “Jostens” stamped inside the ring, yet a company by the name John Roberts made the ring. John Roberts was later bought by Jostens. That means that my ring was either repaired or remade by Jostens which has purchased the rights and obligation to repair and replace those rings.

Dieges & Clust made the earliest Yankee rings and they also manufactured the Brooklyn Dodger World Series rings from the 1950s. When those rings need to be repaired or recreated, those molds and stampings are no longer in existence, therefore it would be impossible to exactly recreate those championship rings.

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