Two Great Questions About Collecting Championship Rings From the Net54baseball.com Forum

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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Keeping Championship Rings Clean!

December 30, 2014


Here are the do’s and don’ts in caring of your championship rings:

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Ring


The above photo recently showed up on Twitter. This looks like a disaster waiting to happen.

Someone is about to season a chicken while wearing their Seahawks Super Bowl ring! (Probably a joke, but who knows?)

Nothing good is going to come of this (except perhaps a great testing meal).

Here is what a lot of time and years collecting championship rings have taught me about caring for championship rings and how to make your sports rings look great:

1) Don’t wear the rings everyday! Especially if you are not the original recipient of the ring, since other than spending a lot of money you would not have had the ring anyway.

Championship rings, especially the ones form the last decade or two are so large they constantly get banged around. Gold is a soft metal and very easy to damage with small dents, scratches, and dings. Keep in mind, especially 14K gold which is softer than 10K gold, the rings can wear down over time and the fine details on the ring can soften (blur) or worse, wear off.

2) Don’t let a jeweler machine-polish and buff the ring! Buffing the ring by machine will improve the look of the ring, however, you are removing a significant amount of gold! If a ring is 50 grams and contains dings and scratches, it may wind up losing 5% or more of it’s weight and just like a ring that is worn too much, the details may be lost or significantly softened. There are many ring collectors who keep notes of ring weights (I know I do) and will pay significantly less money for a ring that is 5-10% lighter in weight than it should be. More than 10% means I won’t buy the ring at all.

3) One of the worst things you can do to your championship ring is to clean it with an ultrasonic cleaner. Made sure you tell your jeweler (and never use one at home) not to use this device on your championship ring. Most championship rings have a black antique finish on the sides of the ring. The black finish helps to make the fine details stand out. Over time the black finish does come off. Using an ultrasonic cleaner will accelerate the black finish coming off much faster. So please remember, never use an ultrasonic cleaner on a championship ring.

4) The best way to clean a championship ring is for the jeweler to steam clean it. Not only does the gold color start to lose it’s shine and luster over time, but the diamonds loose their sparkle too. The reason the diamonds loose their sparkle is that jewelry settings can often obstruct cleaning efforts, and oils, grease, and other substances such as hair spray adhere to a diamond’s surface. When I acquire a ring, the first thing I do is head to my jeweler and have him steam clean the ring. The gold shines again, and the diamonds sparkle. The ring looks new again and I always marvel at the before and after difference! Keep in mind that a steam clean will not eliminate scratches and dents but if the championship ring is in good condition, it will look just about brand new after a steam cleaning.

5) If a championship ring does have surface scratches, I will have my jeweler lightly hand-buff the ring. This can eliminate many of the light surface scratches and soften the dings. While you will lose a little gold, unlike the machine buffing mentioned above, the loss is minimal and the ring will look much better after this process.

6) If a championship ring would look better having the antique finish redone please be aware that this is a risky proposition: There’s a good chance that your jeweler may not even have the black substance or have experience doing this. Furthermore, if he over applies the finish and does not remove the excess finish properly, you will lose many of the fine details of the championship ring.

The details are still on the ring, they’re just hidden beneath a layer of black finish. So if you are thinking of having this done, discuss this with your jeweler, and make sure he knows to remove the black finish enough to show the details. A huge help is if you can present him with a blown up picture of the championship ring with the proper balance of black finish. The large picture will show the details An example of the balance needed is the Lombardi Trophy often shown on the sides of Super Bowl rings. The trophy always contains tiny engraving on the trophy and often you need a magnifying glass to read it. With a proper picture, the jeweler will know he has to remove enough of the black finish to retrieve the tiny engraving details found on the ring.

I hope you find these tips useful.


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Huge Vintage PSA Baseball Card Collection Consigned to Auction

November 26, 2014


Andy Sandler’s AllSprotsAuctions has started and includes tons of Vintage PSA and raw cards plus the “usual-unusual” stuff.

Andy Sandler AllSportsAuctions.com


A large collection of vintage PSA baseball cards was recently consigned to Andy Sandler at his AllSportsAuctions.com auction. Consisting of hundreds of 1957 Topps Baseball cards graded PSA 9, 8 and 7 with no qualifiers, the group includes a PSA 9 Clemente, PSA 9 Campanella, many PSA 9 Rare commons, and lesser grade hall of famers and stars. There are also many vintage raw and slabbed baseball cards from 1880 to 1975 and complete sets.

Also in the auction is a 1953 NBA All Star Game Humidor Award, unique autographs of Fielding Yost, Casey Stengel, the 500 Home Run hitters, Mickey Mantle, and others, vintage equipment, stadium items, pennants, programs, defunct league and team items (like ABL, NBL, BAA, and ABA Basketball items), wire photos, tickets, college yearbooks of Honus Wagner, Jackie Robinson, and Larry Bird, etc.

To see these items and a whole lot of others, visit www.AllSportsAuctions.com through December 3rd.


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