Posts Tagged championship rings

Are Championship Rings a Sound Investment?

February 21, 2015

A reader of this blog asked if a championship ring in an upcoming auction was a good investment. Here’s my thoughts on championship rings as investments:

championshp rings

First off I’m not an economist. Like many, I am a frustrated investor. I have lost money in real estate, and the stock market, and even with Championship rings. Some of my savings is in the bank earning less than one percent interest. Like many, I have a retirement account which is designed to make my financial planner more money than it makes me.

This country is 18 trillion dollars in debt and many feel the stock market is due for a major correction soon. Should China stop lending us money and/or the stock market dives, what will happen to the value of championship rings? So, do I know more than those who make a living dealing with investments and money matters? Not a chance. They can’t see the future and neither can I.

If I was sure championship rings would climb in value over the next ten years, I wouldn’t need to be a professional economist or money manager to know that you should buy every and any ring you can get your hands on. The more rings you buy the more money you will make.

Unfortunately, championship rings are not guaranteed to climb in value. Just like the stock market, or real estate, who knows what will happen. The only guarantee is that the auction houses make money on championship rings – since they take 15-20 percent from the buyer and a percentage from the seller too.

I would not recommend starting an auction house either – the printing and mailing of those catalogs cost a fortune and their overhead to run their business is quite high too.

The one recommendation I would make is only buy championship rings because you love championship rings. If you buy them for investment purposes you could and will probably loose money. You have read enough stories on this blog about fake championship rings and the crooks who peddle them.

If you do buy championship rings, do a lot of research, ask a lot of questions, and get the ring appraised – not by a jeweler but by a sports memorabilia expert who has experience with championship rings. Last, get the ring insured!

Oh, and the person who asked me about a particular championship ring coming up in an auction, should have asked what the ring was currently worth, not what it will be worth in 10 years. The best answer I have heard someone give when asked this question about high-end championship rings is that championship rings are worth “what the highest bidder agrees to pay”. I have no idea if the ring in question will sell at auction for $15,000 or $250,000.

See, I told you I do this for the love, I am not a professional appraiser or expert on sports memorabilia trends. Although I have become quite good at spotting fake rings and tracking what rings have sold for in the past.

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Two Great Questions About Collecting Championship Rings From the Forum

January 26, 2015

If you’re not a member and participating on, 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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2014 Goldin Auctions Winter Auction Tallies $2.3 Million

February 8, 2014

Collectors claim more than 1,100 lots including Michael Jordan UNC recruiting letters, 2012 Ravens Super Bowl ring, Jackie Robinson and Mickey Mantle bats and more.

**Jackie Rbonsin and Mickey Mantle bats**

Collectors paid $2.3 for more than 1,100 lots of rare sports, entertainment and historical memorabilia as the 2014 Goldin Auctions Winter Auction closed today in the early morning hours at Among the highlights were a 1955-56 Jackie Robinson game-used bat selling for a whopping $162.267.50 and a 1966 Mickey Mantle bat which sold for $45,720.43.

Four unique lots of Michael Jordan UNC memorabilia from his Chapel Hill restaurant aptly named”23″ that was uncovered at a public sale of a storage locker sold for a combined $54,422.48. This included: a Michael Jordan UNC Diploma ($20,785.75); Jordan recruiting letter from UNC Head Coach Dean Smith ($27,009.73); Jordan recruiting letter from UNC Assistant Coach Bill Guthridge ($4732.90); and a copy of Jordan’s college transcript ($1894.10).

In addition to the historic bats and rare Jordan items, the auction was also loaded with Super Bowl and championships rings including: a 2012 Baltimore Ravens Damien Berry Player Super Bowl Ring ($43,008.53); Jamie Sharper’s 2000 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl Ring ($36,883.25); RC Owens’ SF 49ers Super Bowl XXIX ring ($38,281.50); a New England Patriots’ Super Bowl ring from former intern and “spygate” videographer Matt Estrella ($15,810.80) and Julius Erving’s final NBA All-Star Game Ring ($29,375).

“We are thrilled that our first auction that was not primarily baseball items was so well received by so many collectors around the world as we set company records for most bids, most bidders and website hits,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “The Robinson bat final price, being one of the two highest priced such bats ever sold and setting a record for this type of bat, was especially exciting.”

The “Goldin Auctions Opening Day Auction” is slated for March 31-April 25. That will be followed by the highly anticipated Babe Ruth Centennial Auction being held in partnership with the Babe Ruth Museum in Baltimore on July 11-12. Goldin Auction is currently accepting Babe Ruth and Yankees-related items for that auction.

Here’s a look at some of the other auction results. For more details, visit

Lot #20: 1969 Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl IV Andy Rice Player Ring – $17,856.48

Lot #19: 1958 Baltimore Colts Historic Leonard Lyles Player Championship Ring – $14,372.60

Lot #3: Early 1950′s Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings Game Worn Jersey- $39,938.25

Lot #14: Babe Ruth Single-Signed Baseball with PSA/DNA Mint 9 Signature – $30,480.68

Lot #5: 1992 Michael Jordan USA Olympic Dream Team Game Used and Signed Full Uniform – $32,682.63

Lot #116: – 1965-66 Roberto Clemente Game Used Bat – $28,386.83

Lot #600: 1957 Topps Football PSA Graded NM-MT 8 Near Complete Set (153/154) – $19,159.55

Lot #606: 1959 Topps Baseball High Grade Set of 572 Cards ($14,863.75)

Lot #4: 1960′s Muhammad Ali Hand Written 18 Page Draft of his Conversion to Islam for his Autobiography – $25,376.48

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