The winners of every Super Bowl get to share the coveted Lombardi Trophy, but they also get a more personal keepsake — a golden-laced, diamond-studded ring.
The National Football League contracts for 150 rings, paying up to $5,000 for each. The basic design includes the team name, logo and Super Bowl game number.
However, if some teams want a fancier look, such as player names, more gems or detailed designs, team owners have to foot the bill for the difference.
Unlike the Lombardi Trophy, which is awarded immediately after the game, teams have to wait to get their rings. There’s a bidding process over price and design, and once that’s settled it usually takes three to four months before they are handed out.
The rings are given to players, staff and owners. An NFL team has a 53-man roster with 45 to 47 players eligible to play in the game, as well as dozens of office staff. Some teams have given rings to former players and coaches, so they sometimes want more than the 150 contracted by the NFL. If they do, the teams have to pay the full amount for rings over the limit.
As prized as the rings may be, some ringholders or their families would rather have the cash value than the memories. Some sellers, usually players, don’t want the public to know what they’re doing. Others don’t care. But it can be quite a profitable move.
To find out which Super Bowl rings are most valued, we asked Timothy Robins, owner of Championship-Rings.net,to put together a list of prices of rings that he has sold or is selling. Some of the rings go back decades, while others are from more recent games.
In addition to the design, what makes one ring more valuable than another is its condition and who owned it. There’s also the fan base, according to Robins. A Pittsburgh Steelers ring might be worth more because of the demand by the Steeler faithful.
Also, since most buyers like to wear them, an oversized ring might be harder to sell, according to Robins. Most men wear a size 11, while many NFL player rings are larger.
Please note that the year associated with the ring is for the NFL season, and not the year the game was played.
Click ahead to find out which Super Bowl rings are — or have been — the most valuable on the open market.
By Mark Koba
Posted 30 Jan 2012
Team: 1987 Washington Redskins
The ring shown here belonged to defensive lineman Dexter Manley, who played for the Washington Redskins in its 42-10 Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos in San Diego.
Manley, nicknamed the “Secretary of Defense,” is considered an all-time great, but battled drug addiction and eventually served two years in prison on a cocaine conviction.
Manley later revealed that he was functionally illiterate, despite having studied at Oklahoma State University for four years.
The ring is 10k gold with diamonds and rubies. It weighs 50 grams, is about a size 11.5, and was made by Tiffany & Co. The ring sold for $40,000.
Team: 1995 Dallas Cowboys
This matchup had the Dallas Cowboys facing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. The Cowboys won by 27-17. Cowboy cornerback Larry Brown was the game’s most valuable player.
This ring is 14k gold with diamonds and belonged to a starting Cowboy player. It weighs 77 grams, is approximately a size 13.25 and was made by Diamond Cutters International. The ring sold for $40,000.
Team: 1972 Miami Dolphins
This was the Miami Dolphins' perfect season that ended with a Super Bowl victory over the Washington Redskins, 14-7, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Dolphin safety Jake Scott was MVP.
The Dolphins would go on to win the Super Bowl again the next year.
Shown here is a 14k gold ring with diamonds. It weighs 44 grams and is a size 13.25. The ring, made by Jostens, was owned by a Dolphin player who wanted to remain anonymous. It sold for $45,000.
Team: 1985 Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears easily beat the New England Patriots at Super Bowl XX, 46-10. Defensive end Richard Dent was MVP.
Many sports analysts rate the 1985 Bears as one of the best teams of all time.
It was the first and only Super Bowl appearance by the great Bears’ Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton, but he ran for only 66 yards and failed to score a touchdown in the game.
This ring came from a Bears’ player and is 14k gold with diamonds. It weighs 43 grams, is approximately a size 13 and was made by Jostens. It sold for $45,000.
Team: 2007 New York Giants
The New York Giants ended the New England Patriots’ attempt to match the Dolphins’ perfect season with an exciting 17-14 win in Glendale, Ariz. Giants quarterback Eli Manning was MVP.
This ring is 14k white gold with diamonds. The ring and the original wooden presentation box belonged to a Giants player. It weighs 73 grams, is approximately a size 13, and was made by Tiffany & Co. The ring is on the market for $50,000.
Team: 2003 New England Patriots
The second Super Bowl win for the Patriots came with a 32-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Houston. Quarterback Tom Brady won his second Super Bowl MVP.
A Patriot player put this ring up for sale. The ring is 14k white gold with diamonds. It weighs 92 grams and is approximately a size 12.5. The ring was made by Jostens and sold for $58,000.
Team: 2006 Indianapolis Colts
This is quarterback Peyton Manning’s only Super Bowl win — so far. His Indianapolis Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Miami by 29-17. Manning was MVP.
Colts head coach Tony Dungy became the third man to win the Super Bowl as a head coach and as a former player, following Tom Flores and Mike Ditka.
The ring shown here was owned by an unidentified Colts player. It's 14k white gold with diamonds and includes the original wood presentation box. It weighs 71 grams and is approximately a size 10.25. Made by Herff Jones, it sold for $60,000.
Team: 2004 New England Patriots
This was the second time in two years that the Patriots won the Super Bowl, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Jacksonville, Fla. Wide receiver Deion Branch was the game’s MVP for the Patriots.
This ring, which belonged to a Patriots player, is 14k white-gold with diamonds. It’s heavy, weighing 100 grams, and is approximately a size 14.5. The ring, which was made by Jostens, is selling for $65,000.
Team: 1966 Green Bay Packers
This was the first championship game between the NFL and the old American Football League and was played between the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs in Los Angeles.
It wasn’t called the Super Bowl then, just the NFL-AFL Championship game. The game would officially become known as the Super Bowl in 1969 when the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in a major upset.
There was plenty of animosity between the AFL and NFL in this first go-round, with each trying to prove it was the better league. Green Bay won what started out as a tight game by the final score of 35-10.
This ring belonged to Hall of Fame middle linebacker Ray Nitschke, who played his entire career for Green Bay. He died in 1998 of a heart attack age 61.
The ring is 14k gold with diamonds. It weighs 38 grams, is approximately a size 14, and was made by Jostens. The ring is currently valued at $100,000.