SB I ring sold for $73K


Six-man pro

The recent news that Ray Nitschke’s son was selling some of his late father’s memorabilia drew mixed reactions from Green Bay Packers fans, at least judging from some of the comments left on Kareem Copeland’s story.

Some didn’t like the idea. Some wished they’d been able to get in on the action.

Truth be told, it’s increasingly commonplace for aging sports figures to sell their keepsakes.

Earlier this week, one of Nitschke’s teammates — former Packers tackle Steve Wright, now 68 — sold his Super Bowl I ring for $73,409 at a sports memorabilia auction. No other football item sold for more.

(It was believed to be the first authentic Super Bowl I ring ever to be auctioned. Former Packers guard Jerry Kramer sold a replica of his Super Bowl I ring in 2006. His original ring, stolen in 1981, turned up in a sports auction 25 years later. When the auction house learned it had been stolen, it ended the auction, settled with the seller and returned the ring to Kramer.)

But Wright’s take was nothing compared to the auction’s top seller. Julius Erving’s game-worn, autographed Virginia Squires road jersey from the 1972-73 ABA season went for $190,414. Former NBA players Fred Brown and Cedric Maxwell also sold championship rings for $115,242 and $55,152, respectively.

Rich Nitschke, who lives in Minocqua in northern Wisconsin, sold his dad’s 1978 Packers Hall of Fame ring (it went for $4,780), but kept a 1965 NFL championship ring and some other rings.

This weekend, retired Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver is selling some of his stuff at an auction in Chicago. Weaver’s 1966 World Series championship ring and his Baseball Hall of Fame induction ring are among the 47 items he’s selling.

Weaver, still feisty at 80, could make as much as $150,000 from the auction. The World Series ring is expected to go for $15,000 to $20,000, which seems low given the auction results from earlier this week.

Weaver explained his thinking to the Baltimore Sun:

“Not all of my things are worth the same, so how would it be distributed to my four children (after my death)? They might all want the same piece, and I don’t want them to get disturbed or mad. The smartest thing I can do is to sell (the memorabilia), take the money and divide it equally, so they can do what they want — whether it’s to set up a college fund for a grandchild, or take a trip around the world. That way, I’ll get to watch them enjoy the money, too.”

That said, Weaver isn’t selling his American League championship rings. He has four. One for each child.

– Jeff Ash (Green Bay Press Gazette)