T.O. title ring to aid Katrina victims goes for $48K
Terrell Owens' 2004 NFC Championship ring sold for $48,200 in an online auction on Thursday.
If the winner pays up, it would be the highest price ever paid for a conference ring, according to ring expert Scott Welkowsky, owner of Out of This World Memorabilia in Mission Viejo, Calif.
In fact, Welkowsky says he has sold thousands of championship rings in his 23 years of business and the most a buyer has paid for a ring was $35,000 for a Super Bowl XXIX ring given to a San Francisco 49ers starter. In February, former Patriots backup cornerback Leonard Myers sold his Super Bowl XXXVI ring for $32,600.
"You can tell that the person buying this doesn't normally buy rings," said Welkowsky, who recently sold former Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose's 1980 NFC Championship ring for $6,500. "It's for a good cause and it's certainly a nice piece, but the diamond and gold value in this ring is worth no more than $3,000."
Owens didn't even play in the Eagles 27-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 23. A severe ankle injury kept him out of the final two games of the regular season and two playoff games. Owens caught 9 passes for 122 yards in Super Bowl XXIX, just six and a half weeks after having surgery.
This is Owens' second attempt to sell the ring, with the proceeds going to victims of Hurricane Katrina. A few weeks ago, it was posted on eBay, but when bids soared to $400,000, it was decided that the auction should be pulled and bidders should be pre-approved to prevent fraudulent bidding.
"My hope is that one of you with a generous heart and hopefully a big pocketbook will see this as an opportunity to do your part to help those that have lost everything," Owens wrote on the eBay auction page.
The winner will personally receive the ring from Owens, said his publicist Kim Ethredge.
"We're happy someone found it in their heart, not only to want this treasure, but to give the money to a good cause," Ethredge said.
As a rule, conference championship rings are usually worth half as much as the value of Super Bowl ring from that same year. Conference championship rings with marquee players names on them usually sell in the $6,000 to $15,000 range, Welkowsky said.
Welkowsky said the price realized for the Owens ring could cause some players to believe their ring could also garner a similar price tag. Someone recently put up for auction a 1996 Green Bay Packers ring from Super Bowl XXXI with a minimum bid of $19,999. Welkowsky sold a 1972 Miami Dolphins "Perfect Season" Super Bowl VII ring for that price.
Owens had a contentious offseason while trying to renegotiate his contract. Despite an apparent off-the-field communication problem with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, the two have hit it off on the field. In the first three games this season, Owens has caught 21 passes for 335 yards and has scored three touchdowns.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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