A look at the Houston Sports Hall of Fame Championship Rings

February 10, 2018


Fred Cuellar has a theory about sports rings. He’s both right and wrong and I’ll explain why….


Hall of fame championship rings


“You graduate high school, and you get a ring, if you’re lucky enough to play in college, you go to a bowl game and you get a ring, but those are all kind of junky rings – even though some of them are big, they aren’t made very well and they aren’t worth very much,” said Cuellar, the CEO of Diamond Cutters International in Houston. “Now, if you’re really lucky and you make it to the pros and you win a Super Bowl or you win a World Series or an NBA Finals or a Stanley Cup, then you get this really nice ring. And, if you’re an elite player, you get a Hall of Fame ring, and honestly, it’s another junky ring. You start off with a crummy ring as a kid, and if you’re lucky enough, you get something beautiful along the way, but then why should it end badly?”

Cuellar called high school and college championship rings “junky”, and said they were not made very well. He happens to be almost 100% wrong. In this day and age, Jostens makes them quite well, and in fact they look fantastic and are sometimes made with the same molds and styles as current Super Bowl rings.

Cuellar shouldn’t be saying they are not well made. While his company has made a few championship rings for sports teams (much less than Jostens, Tiffany and Balfour), two of his creations – The Cowboys Super Bowl XXX ring and the Broncos Super Bowl XXXII ring were awful. The shanks (sides) of these championship rings were the worst I’ve seen on a Super Bowl ring and look positively amateurish. The Broncos, after winning a second consecutive Super Bowl ring, switched companies and went with Jostens the following year, and the championship rings were made so much nicer.

Cuellar is correct in stating that the High School and College championship rings are made inexpensively – with non gold materials and not real diamonds. So in that sense they are cheap, however there is a distinction between low-cost and low quality. They are far from low quality.

According to Cuellar, most Hall of Fame rings cost around $1,000 to make. So, when he was put in charge of making rings for upcoming inductees into the Houston Sports Hall of Fame, his goal was to change that. And in fairness to football, baseball and other Halls of Fames, they have recently stepped up their game and are making larger and more glamorous championship rings for their inductees.

Diamond Cutters International is making Houston Hall of Fame rings for Hakeem Olajuwon, Nolan Ryan and Earl Campbell (shown above) to honor their induction into an upcoming Houston Sports Hall of Fame class. The company has pledged to make the championship style rings for upcoming inductees too.

Cuellar says it’s hard to give an exact value on the rings he’s making for the Houston legends because he’s still in the process of choosing the gemstones, but he expects them to be valued at more than $60,000 each when he’s done. According to my calculations, the Patriots Super Bowl ring from last year cost half that to make so I have no idea where’s he’s getting his numbers from.

Cuellar promises to cover the cost of the championship rings himself, (and why not, it’s great publicity for him and his company). He also promises to supply the Hall of Fame with replicas so they can be displayed for the public.

While Diamond Cutters International stated recently that they are in the process of designing the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl rings, Trust me on this one, it would be a shocker if the Eagles Super Bowl ring contract was awarded to Diamond Cutters International.

Please remember as always, I buy championship rings. If you would like to sell your championship ring in complete privacy, please contact me.


superbowl, super bowl and championship rings twitterblogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Collecting Championship Rings Ain’t Easy

February 9, 2018


Here’s an example of why collecting high-end championship rings can be challenging and emotionally turbulent:


Carolina Panthers 2015 NFC Championship Ring


The Carolina Panthers 2015 player championship ring shown above, caught my eye this week on eBay.

Collecting winning and losing Super Bowl rings is my passion and when I get an opportunity to buy a ring from a team and year I don’t have, I like to move quickly.

The $75,0000 asking price is ludicrous – around ten times the market value for this AFC or NFC championship ring (note that the Super Bowl losing team, depending upon the team’s conference is awarded a conference championship ring).

I made a fair offer to the seller through eBay’s “Make an Offer” option and the offer was declined by the seller.

In speaking with the owner of the championship ring (a jewrey store owner who purchased it from the player), he mentioned that he doesn’t want to really sell the championship ring. He just wanted to see if there was anybody willing to pay a lot of money for it.

Then it dawned on me: This seller almost a year and half ago, put this Panther championship ring for sale on eBay with a slightly higher-than-the-going-rate “Buy it now price”. I pulled the trigger and purchased his Panther ring, and then the seller decided not to sell it, stating his wife did not want to sell the championship ring.

Isn’t it great when people blame others for their refusal to do something? I reminded him that as an eBay seller, he agreed to sell me the championship ring and that he should explain that to his wife. Well I tried to enlist eBay’s help, but there was nothing they could really do, so the sale was never finalized, and the seller returned my money.

I have a feeling that a few years from now, this eBay seller will still have this championship ring, and will wait and wait for someone to come along and pay him his real (and secretive) desired price.

Wait till he finds out that these championship rings tend to go down in price as other teammates championship rings hit the market and the additional supply of championship rings bring the prices down.

Please remember as always, I buy championship rings. If you would like to sell your championship ring in complete privacy, please contact me.


superbowl, super bowl and championship rings twitterblogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Championship Rings Have a Poor Showing at Super Bowl Auction

February 7, 2018


Many salesman sample Super Bowl rings, and a few other championship rings, did poorly at the auction, held in Minneapolis a day before the big game. Here’s one that did OK:


Super Bowl ring auction


As usual Hunt Auctions, the company that handles each NFL-sanctioned Super Bowl auction in the host city, did a very good job.

I was the winning bidder on the one single item I wanted very much; but for transparency, please note the piece was not a championship ring.

So don’t think I’m blaming Hunt Auctions for the poor championship ring showing. It has everything to do with current market conditions (i.e. demand) than anything else.

Many of the authentic salesman sample Super Bowl rings sold in the auction went for under $2,000 with the buyer’s premium attached to the final price. This is amazing, as these very same championship rings were selling a decade ago for more than double this amount. Adjusted for inflation, and the cost of selling a salesman sample through an auction house or eBay, one can see that the return on an investment of a salesman sample ring purchased 10 years ago would be catastrophic.

The fall in salesman sample ring prices has a lot to do with Irv Lerner – a.k.a. “The Ring Man” who destroyed the salesman sample market. If you are not sure what I’m talking about, use the search function on the right side of this championship ring blog and type in his name.

Meanwhile, on a positive note for championship ring collectors, the home-town Minnesota Vikings, player “NFL” championship ring from Super Bowl IV sold with the buyer’s fee, for around $8,225.00. Yes, this is an “NFL” championship ring, which is now called an “NFC” championship ring as the NFL-AFL merger was in the works during the time this ring was made.

The NFL, and Vikings put “NFL” champions on this ring, while the winning team, the Kansas City Chiefs, received “World Champions” on their winning Super Bowl rings.

In my opinion, the $8,225.00 selling price is a very fair number. The buyer did OK and so did the seller. Typically this is the current price range for these kinds of championship rings.

Please remember as always, I buy championship rings. If you would like to sell your championship ring in complete privacy, please contact me.


superbowl, super bowl and championship rings twitterblogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Goldin Auctions Has 10 NFL Championship Rings in Their Upcoming Auction

February 6, 2018


It’s rare to see so many championship rings in one auction, but Goldin Auctions sent a recent promotional email reminding sports memorabilia collectors that they have the goods:


Goldin Auctions and championship rings at auction


I am not affiliated with Goldin Auctions although I have bought and sold items in their sports auctions and recommend them highly. And just for transparency, none of the items in their upcoming auction belong to me.

A week or two ago we covered the Tom Brady Super Bowl ring that stars in this auction and I was hoping to get around to discussing the Broncos Super Bowl 50 ring also found in this auction (see photo above).

The Broncos Super Bowl 50 ring, like the Tom Brady Super Bowl ring, is smaller than the version the players received. Just like the Patriots Brady championship ring, the Broncos ring also appears to be scaled smaller compared to the player’s Super Bowl ring. That means, although it’s smaller than the player’s version, the championship ring retains the look and design of the player version. Both Super Bowl rings were made by Jostens and perhaps this is a new trend the championship ring manufacturer is incorporating on front office rings.

Not all of Goldin Auctions championship rings will hit five figures and that’s a good thing for championship ring collectors on a budget.

If you plan on bidding in the auction, keep in mind that bidding ends on February 17th. Good luck to all those involved.

Please remember as always, I buy championship rings. If you would like to sell your championship ring in complete privacy, please contact me.


superbowl, super bowl and championship rings twitterblogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jostens Already Has Designed an Eagles Super Bowl LII Ring

February 5, 2018


Located in Minnesota, the city where the 2018 Super Bowl was held, Jostens began designing championship rings for all 12 teams that made the playoffs this season.


Eagles 2017 Super Bowl XLII ring


Last month, Jostens, the largest championship ring designer and manufacturer, began developing designs for every NFL team that made this year’s playoffs. The designs included incorporating team logos, home cities, and even details from each team’s playoff games this season.

So now that the big event is over, Jostens will soon be contacting team owner’s with its ideas, sketches and prototypes in hopes of being awarded the prestigious contract to make these two championship rings. Yes, the losing team does earn a beautiful championship ring too, just not as large or containing as much bling as the winning Super Bowl ring.

The losing team is awarded an “AFC” or “NFC” championship ring because technically they are champions of their respective conference. The winning team, unlike in college football, only gets a winning Super Bowl ring, and not an additional conference championship ring.

“Each story will create some uniqueness,” said Chris Poitras, COO of the pro sports, college and specialty division at Jostens. Now that the Eagles have won, there is speculation that the team may want to incorporate emeralds to match the team’s green color and logo.

Many companies battle Jostens to make Super Bowl rings and AFC/NFC championship rings. Jostens would be considered the favorite to win both contracts since they have been awarded 33 out of the 51 winners and a comparable amount of conference championship rings as well.

As everyone knows, championship rings have gotten so large and filled with so much bling that there’s tremendous prestige and publicity that comes with being awarded these contracts.

As soon as the winning championship ring manufacturers are selected, I’ll inform readers of this championship ring blog the details.

Please remember as always, I buy championship rings. If you would like to sell your championship ring in complete privacy, please contact me.


superbowl, super bowl and championship rings twitterblogs


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,