Well, kiss my Super Bowl ring
There’s always, apparently, a silver (or platinum or diamond-encrusted) lining, even in the pitchiest of pitch-black economies, and one of the sectors where there’s a lot happening is the aftermarket for championship rings.
You know, like the 2004 Red Sox World Champeen Ring – the first Red Sox bling-ring ever, given that their last win had been in 1919, before rings were routinely awarded the winners. Thanks to the recession, there are plenty of rings to be had on eBay, in pawn shops, and on championship-rings.net, from whence cometh this staff-owned Red Sox ring, which can be had for a bit under $40K. Personally, I like the 2007 edition better, as I’ve always been partial to the red socks vs. the B. Needless to say, I won’t be bidding on either (although I would be feeling a bit wistful about not bidding if those socks had been the funny old Red Sox logo with the face on it).
Bling, in general, is just not me. And sports championship ring bling, on top of its general gaudiness, reminds me of brass knuckles. Another item that, in both particular and general, is just not me.
Fortunately for companies like Josten’s, and Balfour – purveyors of fine sports bling – there’s a recurring market for it, what with multiple professional leagues, and college championships. And even (at least at Josten’s) fantasy sports championships that can and should (at least according to Josten’s) be commemorated.
Then, as noted, there’s the after-market, which was written about in a recent Boston.com article.
If I find the primary market a bit odd – really, wouldn’t most people rather have something simpler plus a big old check - I rather like the secondary market. Most of the rings on offer seem to be from staff members, scouts, umpires – people who apparently share my sentiment about not being sentimental, and grabbing for the moola, rather than the oo-la-la. (One ring I saw on the Champion Ring site was a Lakers’ ring given by Shaquille O’Neil to a member of his entourage.)
Unloading this stuff makes perfect economic sense. Say you’re one of Shaq’s entourage members... Or a $60K/year staffer for the Red Sox, and have a chance to unload your championship rings – which, after all, you didn’t exactly earn – and get a full year’s salary in return. Not exactly a Christmas turkey.
On eBay, you can buy a full suite of Atlanta Brave’s rings-of-the-90’s for a bit under $80K. They’re being sold by a Braves scout. Don’t know what scouts make, but a lot of them aren’t full timers, so $80K puts a nice, healthy wad in the wallet.
Naturally, if the provenance of the ring is such that it once graced the bling-finger of the athlete, himself, the value is higher than one being hawked by the towel boy. Most athletes part company with their rings:
…because of what sports memorabilia dealers call “the three D’s’’ — divorce, drugs, and death. Now, add the economy.
(I guess that third-D isn’t exactly the athlete’s decision.)
But, 3-D’s aside, the Boston.com article claims that:
Most players’ rings reach the open market
Where they are considered pretty good investments, fandom being what it is (and diamonds being forever, and all that). On the Champion Ring site, for the most part, you aren’t told who the player is unless you’re making a serious inquiry.
Popularity of the sport matters, too. Hockey and soccer rings are worth less than NFL and baseball rings. Oddly, all of the bowling championship rings (say what?) are out of stock on CR. And there are NO Women’s NBA rings. (Diamonds are a girl’s best friend? Or is it that the guys scooping these rings up on the after-market want the full try-it-on-look-in-the-mirror-and-fantasize that they just wouldn’t get with a ring from a woman’s sport?)
If you’re looking for bargains, you can head to e-mail, where there are some salesmen’s samples at relative low cost, as well as oodles of replicas on the real cheap. (Think cubic zirconium, not diamonds.) All of those replicas don’t say replica, by the way, but you can make an assumption about a $300 ring vs. a $30K ring.