A Super Bowl championship ring at one time owned by former Baltimore Ravens’ running back Jamal Lewis was sold at auction on Sunday morning. The ring was in commemoration of the Ravens victory in Super Bowl XLVII held in early 2013. Lewis retired in 2009 but Ravens’ owner Stephen Bisciotti gave the ring to the running back along with a number of other former Baltimore players enshrined in the franchise’s ‘Ring of Honor’ including Michael McCrary, Jonathan Ogden, Matt Stover and Peter Boulware.
No explanation of how the ring came into the possession of sports memorabilia dealer Goldin Auctions but it’s fairly easy to ‘connect the dots’. Lewis filed for bankruptcy in 2012 listing $14.5 million in assets against $10.8 million in debts. Lewis won another Super Bowl XXXV ring as a rookie after the 2000 season. This ring was listed among his ‘personal possessions’ to be exempt from the bankruptcy declaration. If one is to guess it’s likely that the ring he won as an active member of the roster had more significance to him than the won Bisciotti handed him post retirement. It’s difficult to say what Lewis’ current financial shape is like–the thinking behind the bankruptcy declaration was to renegotiate and delay payments to several creditors including Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Bank of America. The filing also indicated that Lewis is far from destitude–at the time of the bankruptcy declaration Lewsi owned five houses, a fleet of luxury cars and half ownership of a water park in Columbus, Ohio.
The ring went for just over $50,000 and Goldin Auctions’ owner Ken Goldin explained it’s significance: “It’s a tremendous price for a retired player who got it as a honorary gift, as opposed to being an active member of that team. On the flip side, the purchaser is able to get a ring of a long-term superstar and potential Hall of Famer and able to get a Super Bowl ring with a player with that player’s name on it.”
Rings given for ‘honorary’ reasons are in less demand than rings won on the field. Lewis’ ring commanded a higher than expected price, presumably as a speculative purchase predicated on future Hall of Fame enshrinement.