Archive for April, 2016

‘Sports Detectives’ TV Show Reports on The Jim Brown 1964 Championship Ring Mystery

April 30, 2016

Jim Brown’s 1964 championship ring, shown below, is featured in a TV segment on the Smithsonian Channel series “Sports Detectives.” (Smithsonian Channel):

Jim Brown Cleveland Browns 1964 NFL Championship ring

One of greatest professional football players ever, Jim Brown, played a key role in the Cleveland Browns winning the 1964 NFL championship game. This was the Browns last championship. Brown was awarded a championship ring in 1965 to commemorate that title.

What happened to that championship ring is shrouded in mystery. It’s a mystery examined and reported on by the Smithsonian Channel cable series “Sports Detectives”. The episode will broadcast 9 p.m. est Sunday, May 1.

The case of the missing championship ring is one of two investigations featured in Sunday’s hour episode of “Sports Detectives.” The other story is also fascinating – whether or not a Pittsburgh fan has the actual football caught by the Steelers’ Franco Harris in the 1972 game-ending play known as the Immaculate Reception.

Jim Brown claims the championship ring was stolen during a 1966 robbery at his Cleveland home. It surfaced several years later when memorabilia collector Ray Kling purchased it from a woman claiming to be Brown’s divorced wife, Sue.

TV sports reporter Lauren Gardner, one of the cable show’s two hosts, visited Cleveland and filmed the story. At the time of the filming, Brown’s championship ring was in the possession of Josh Evans, Chairman of a huge sports memorabilia auction house.

Was the ring stolen in 1966? Was the woman who sold Kling the championship ring actually Brown’s ex-wife? And who legally had the real claim to ownership?

And other issues that I hope the story will address is if Brown given more than one championship ring? Also, there are salesman samples with Brown’s name on them. Is it possible someone sold a salesman sample with a real diamond in the championship ring and claimed it was the original championship ring?

“Viewers will reach their own conclusion,” Gardner said. “We followed the chain of evidence. We talked to everyone who would talk to us, and we examined this from every possible angle. I feel like we followed every path we possibly could, and it is a mystery. There are so many versions of what happened and what could have happened.”

Among those interviewed for the “Sports Detectives” investigation are Evans, Kling, NFL historian Michael Oriard, data analysis editor Rich Exner, former Browns player Walter Beach and Mike Freeman, author of “Jim Brown: The Fierce Life of an American Hero.” Brown declined to be interviewed for the series, but two of his lawyers, Neal Brickman and Aaron Mitchell, did speak with Gardner.

Hopefully, they reached out to memorabilia and championship ring collectors who often are confronted with headaches and challenges like the one this Brown championship ring went through.

Please remember, I buy championship rings, so if you would like to sell your ring privately, please contact me.

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1970s Cowboy Championships Rings – Hits & Misses

April 29, 2016

This great picture appeared this week on Twitter and shows three 1970s Cowboy Championship Rings:

(Click picture below for a larger picture)New York Mets World Series Rings

Some teams love to label themselves the team of the decade. And the Pittsburgh Steelers have every right to proclaim themselves the team of the 1970s, since they won four Super Bowl rings in that decade.

The Steelers went to four Super Bowls and won them all in the 70s. Even though their last Super Bowl ring from that decade was the 1979 season, the Super Bowl was played in January 1980. Meanwhile, the Cowboys were involved in five Super Bowls in the 1970s.

The Cowboys won two Super Bowl rings in the 1970s (1971 and 1977) and lost three Super Bowls but earned three NFC rings (1970, 1975, and 1978).

Pictured above are three championship rings from that decade. Left to right, we have the 1978, NFC championship ring, followed by the 1977 Super Bowl ring, and last, on the right we have the 1975 NFC ring.

The 1978 NFC ring is perhaps the least attractive NFL Football championship ring ever. The team and designer of the championship ring attempted to make a “cocktail” type ring with the Texas state flower shown on top. Tiny little diamonds are randomly spread on top with five blue stones that are supposed to be pedals belonging to the flower.

If you did not see a resemblance to a flower, don’t feel bad, neither did anyone else. This ring does quite poorly at auction as it really is a sub-standard championship ring.

In the middle of the three championship rings, is the 1977 Super Bowl XII championship ring. In my opinion, this is a championship ring of stunning beauty, and it propelled championship ring design to a new level where rings were starting to show more and more bling.

Last, we have the 1975 NFC championship ring which shows that losing Super Bowl rings can be classic and quite attractive.

Please remember, I buy championship rings all the time. If you have a championship ring that you would like to sell, please contact me and we can do a deal privately.

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Championship Ring and Memorabilia of Former Syracuse Star at Auction

April 27, 2016

For the right price, you can own some of former Syracuse University great Dave Bing’s basketball memorabilia:

2003 Syracuse National Championship ring

Several special pieces of memorabilia from the Hall of Famer’s career, including a National championship ring from the 2003 season are in an upcoming Goldin auction. Although Bing played at Syracuse in the 1960s, his number was retired by the University and they also gifted him a 2003 championship ring.

Some of the sports memorabilia items in the auction are from his NBA playing days with the Detroit Pistons. A few others are linked to his time with Syracuse University.

Besides the special championship ring, collectors can bid on his 1966 Athlete of the Year award presented by the Syracuse University Alumni Association of New York City (minimum bid: $300). The 2003 NCAA championship ring has a starting minimum bid: $5,000.

Bing said he recently moved into a new home in the Detroit area and as part of his downsizing, he gifted the sports items to his grandchildren. He’s not upset that they decided to put the memorabilia up for auction.

“I don’t think they value it the same way (as he does),” Bing said. “I’m not going to fight them over it. It’s not that big of a deal. All that stuff was so long ago. When I downsized, that’s when you realize how much stuff you have. I’m not that sentimental, to be honest with you.”

Please remember, I buy championship rings, so if you would like to sell your championship ring in privacy, please reach out to me.

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What The Auction House Didn’t Tell Bidders About This World Series Ring

April 26, 2016

While Duke Snider’s 1953 championship ring sold for $50,062 recently, the buyer might not have know all the details about it:

(Click picture below for a larger picture)Duke Snider 1953 Brooklyn dodger ring

After careful examination of the photos in the SCP auction that concluded over the weekend, I believe the Duke Snider World Series ring is authentic.

The weight of the ring is dead-on at 26 grams and the inside engraving of Duke’s name, matches quite similarly with my player ring belonging to another famous Dodger great. Another Home Run in the offering was a letter of authenticity (LOA) from Snider himself.

However, there is something very unusual about the Duke Snider championship ring: The maker of this championship ring, and all the other Brooklyn Dodger championship rings was Dieges & Clust.

The Duke Snider championship ring that sold for a little over $50,000.00 was clearly stamped Balfour 10K.

Jostens, Balfour, and Dieges & Clust all competed in the championship ring business back in the 1950s when this National League Championship ring was manufactured.

Decades later, Dieges & Clust was sold to Herff Jones, not Balfour. If Snider’s championship ring had to be remade, it should have been remade (or repaired, or resized) by Dieges & Clust or Herff Jones, not Balfour.

How and why Balfour stamped this ring, is a mystery, and clearly, the wrong manufacture’s stamp on a championship ring hurts the value of the ring. SCP should have clearly stated in their auction that the championship ring contained the wrong manufacture’s stamp.

Perhaps the winning bidder knew this, or perhaps he didn’t. We will never know if the price was driven higher by bidders who didn’t know or understand this issue.

I had purchased a Yankees 1953 winning ring a few years back from a collector. Doing my homework, I knew that the 1953 ring was authentic and was made by Balfour. The Balfour stamp inside the ring was not from 1953, but it was from the early 1980s.

As some of us middle-agers know, sometimes our finger sizes grow throughout our lives and the championship ring probably went back to Balfour to be resized. The stamp was ruined during the sizing process so Balfour, as they commonly do, restamped the World Series ring, with a more modern Balfour stamp.

When that ring sold at auction, it sold for a lot less money than other 1953 player rings. The auction company told me that some potential bidders were turned off by the more modern stamp, yet keep in mind, it was stamped by the same company, that originally made the championship ring. So if a modern stamp, lessens the value of a championship ring, imagine what the wrong company’s stamp does to the value of a ring. And note that the 1953 Yankee ring description from that auction contained a detailed explanation of the more modern stamp as it should have.

Shown below is a picture of my 1953 Dodger championship ring and you can see how well Duke’s and George Schuba’s engraving match up. Yes, the SCP ring is authentic, but the auction description should have been much more detailed.

(Click picture below for a larger picture)Brooklyn Dodger championship ring

Please remember, I buy championship rings all the time. If you have a championship ring and would like to sell it privately, please contact me.

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Don Drysdale’s 1963 World Series Ring Sells For $110,111

April 25, 2016

Don Drysdale’s 1963 World Series championship ring with the Los Angeles Dodgers sold for $110,111 in an auction of the late Hall of Fame pitcher’s memorabilia

Don Drysdale 1963 Dodgers World Series Ring

The Balfour Championship ring, in outstanding condition is shown above.

Don Drysdale’s 1963 World Series championship ring, earned with the L.A. Dodgers fetched $110,111 over the weekend in an auction.

It wasn’t the only item that sold for six figures that belonged to the late Hall of Fame pitcher.

Drysdale’s 1962 Cy Young Award as the National League’s best pitcher sold in the same auction for $100,100.

Kelly Drysdale, his daughter from the Pitcher’s first marriage, was very upset that she wasn’t informed of the auction or offered any items by Drysdale’s widow. Kelly said would have liked the Cy Young Award, which was displayed in her house where she was raised.

Drysdale’s 1965 World Series championship ring went for $90,999, while his 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers game-worn rookie uniform earned $82,727.

One very cool feature on the 1963 World Series ring (and some of the other Dodger championship rings from this era) is that each player’s signature was recreated on the side of the ring, shown inside a baseball.

Among the other items garnering the highest prices was four of Drysdale’s game-worn Dodgers uniforms, including two that he wore during the 1965 World Series. They sold for prices ranging from $25,686 to $41,372. His 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers NL championship ring went for $25,726, and his well-worn, game-used fielder’s glove from the 1960s sold for $30,343.

Please remember, I buy championship rings, so if you would like to sell your championship ring in private, please contact me.

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