Players say they want a Super Bowl ring because of what it represents: tangible validation of the old adage that hard work pays off. It’s verification that your team was the very best in the National Football League that season.
A look at what those rings are made of and what they’re worth, however, also proves they’re a valuable little bonus, even for the millionaire athlete.
The NFL pays $5,000 each for 150 Super Bowl rings. Any cost over and above that is generally covered by the ring manufacturer. Jostens has made 29 of the 45 rings, which have gotten bigger, bolder and worth more money every year.
Members of the Green Bay Packers, winners of Super Bowl I in 1967, received a championship ring containing only one diamond, individually appraised recently at an estimated $20,419.
The New England Patriots, winners of Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, earned rings that carried an estimated value of $33,379.
Part of the reason is the incredible increase in gold prices over the last half century. In 1967 the average value of gold was only $35.00 per ounce and now it’s trading at nearly $1900 an ounce.
Not surprisingly, rings have increased in value as the years go by.
The "value" of Super Bowl rings is estimated based only on the raw materials. It does not take into account the collector market or the sentimental attachment that comes with winning an NFL Championship.
The number of ordinary fans, collectors and speculators who collect championship rings has increased markedly over the last few years. Hunting for Super Bowl rings for sale has become a passionate hobby for fans and collectors who seek out both authentic and replica rings, depending on their budget.
A Super Bowl I ring given to lineman Steve Wright recently sold for more than $70,000. It was believed to be the first ring from that historic game to ever come on the auction market. Fuzzy Thurston's Super Bowl ring—a replacement for his original—still brought more than $50,000 at auction this past summer as the IRS began seizing his assets because of a debt. It sure beats adding to your collection of Packer jerseys.
Rings from more recent times have sold for $30-50,000. Of course, the value in collectors’ eyes is tied to who wore it. A ring from a player, especially a well-known player, will sell for a higher premium than one given to a front office worker or scout.
There’s no question that if you like "bling," the modern era rings are for you. The Super Bowl XLV ring designed by the Packers is made of 18k yellow gold with 105 diamonds in two different spots.
The Super Bowl XXXIX ring earned by the Patriots was quickly valued at $33,397. It has 14 karats and 2.35 ounces of gold. By contrast, the Packers’ first Super Bowl ring in 1967 had the one diamond, was 10k and had only .46 ounces of gold.