December 23, 2014

Continuing my blog series on pairs of rings issued from every Super Bowl, let’s take a look at the championship hardware from Super Bowl III:

Jets Super Bowl III ring

In the almost fifty year history of the Super Bowl, only twice has a team decided to skip awarding a championship ring. Super Bowl III, played in January of 1969 was the first time this occurred.

An apology that this picture contains my website address, but if I don’t mark the photo, other web sites will steal my pictures or worse, ebay sellers making cheap replicas that don’t look as realistic as the real rings will use the photos and claim these pictures are of their championship rings.

Almost all of these photographs are from my personal championship ring collection and many of these rings are extremely rare and seldom (or perhaps never) photographed in pairs from a particular super bowl game. So please understand and excuse my effort to keep the photos from being misused. When I use a common picture found on the internet, I don’t put my website address on the photo.

The ring on the left is the New York Jets Super Bowl III ring, the same style ring spotted on Joe Namath at the Super Bowl 48 coin toss. Made by Balfour, it contained one large diamond and 6 smaller diamonds. The side of the ring had the phrase “Super Bowl” and the score Jets 16, Colts 7. This was the first Super Bowl ring to actually say “Super Bowl” as that name was not coined at the time of the first game between the Packers and Chiefs.

The Super Bowl III ring is extremely rare and highly coveted by championship ring collectors. Very few of these rings have been sold to the public.

Now here is where the story gets very interesting:

The solid gold watch shown on the right is the Baltimore Colts official award from the 1968 season. Notice, it does say “NFL Champions” as the NFL-AFL officially merged two seasons later when new conferences were created and the schedule was changed to allow each team to play every other team during the regular season.

In a tradition that continues to this day, the team that loses the Super Bowl is still recognized as a champion of their respective conference. Before the official merger was completed, the losing ring would contain either “AFL” or “NFL” champions, while the winning Super Bowl team’s ring would have the words “World Champions”. Starting with Super Bowl V and continuing to modern times, the team that loses the Super Bowl earns an “AFC” or “NFC” champions ring.

Now, about the watch:

The Baltimore Colts were heavily favored going into Super Bowl III, and were completely startled by their loss to the Jets.

The team felt that an “NFL Championship” ring would have been a grim reminder of their historic loss and perhaps that was just too much to bear. So the team decided to go with watches.

The watch is a high-end, solid 18K gold piece that contains the player initials (including the middle initial) and their jersey number engraved on the back of the watch.

The watches were made by luxury watch maker, Lucien Piccard. While the watch is extremely rare (only two have hit the auction block), there is not a huge demand for them and they typically sell around $3,000.

By now you probably know that I buy super bowl rings and I buy championship rings. Please let me know if you have a championship ring you would like to sell.

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