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This week, I’m digging into Rally Road’s complete set of six 1990s Chicago Bulls championship rings, IPO’ing at $300,000 25 December at noon EST.
What are the championship rings?
During the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls won six NBA championships:
1991 - 1993
1996 - 1998
The two-year gap was down to Michael Jordan’s temporary retirement to explore a minor league baseball career in honour of his late father. It’s conceivable—likely even—that the Bulls would have won eight NBA championships in a row if Jordan hadn’t retired.
It’s fair to say the 1990s Chicago Bulls were one of the top five professional sports dynasties of all time.
With each championship, members of the team and selected staff were given a personalised ring.
The rings on offer with Rally Road were given to long-time security guard and Chicago legend John Capps. He worked for the Bulls from 1962 to 2018.
Capps was close to Michael Jordan and was known to gamble with him on the outcomes of Jumbotron races.
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What are the rings worth?
These rings are such a rare collection that it’s almost a case of “how much are you willing to pay.”
There was one other complete set of all six 1990s staff championship rings auctions off in February 2020. They belonged to longtime scorer Bob Rosenberg and went for $221k.
That gives us an absolute floor for the value of these rings, and I think it’s fair to say Capps had closer ties to the Bulls than Rosenberg did, which probably gives it a bit of a premium right away.
But time is going to be the biggest factor in this set’s valuation. A lot has happened since February 2020.
Valuations for all sports memorabilia has gone up significantly, and anything tied to Michael Jordan has gone bananas.
The value of Jordan’s rookie card has 3x since this initial set was auctioned off in February. These rings aren’t his, obviously, but I think it’s fair to say everything about 1990s Bulls memorabilia derives its value from him (sorry Scottie Pippen).
Michael Jordan completely overshadows the rest of the Bulls organisation.
If we’re conservative and say the value of the rings has only 2x since February, that gives us another data point at $442k for these rings. If we’re less conservative and go 3x, that puts the value at $663k.
The correlation between searches for MJ and the Bulls in the chart above is 0.73, which is very high. Applying that 0.73 correlation to the 3x multiple gives us a valuation of $486k for the set of rings.
Individual Rings v a Set
Finding a complete set of six rings is pretty extraordinary. In fact, I’ve only come across this set and the Rosenberg collection in my research. So there’s a premium to the collection that renders it more valuable than the sum of its parts.
It’s worth checking in on those parts, though.
Unfortunately, Goldin Auctions, which ran most of the auctions for these rings, has been down all week with server issue. So I was able to find the ring sales and amounts but not the dates (it’s been a very tedious and frustrating experience).
Here’s what I did find. These are all Bulls staff rings like Capps:
1992 Gardner Ring
Sold in February 2019 for $11,400.
1991 Gardner Ring
Sold in November 2016 for $8,424
1991 Diaz Ring
Sold in May 2015 for $10,150
1995 Lee Ring
Sold in May 2012 for $16,558
The undated Goldin Auctions:
1998 Lewandowski Ring
Sold for $24,600
1998 Lewandowski Ring
Sold for $12,000
1991 Joe Lee Ring
Sold for $7,320
1995 Tom Dore Ring
Sold for $13,685
So make of that what you will. The same ring (1998 Lewandowski) doubled in price at some point.
What did Rally pay for the rings?
We know that Rally bought the set for $255k in October, which gives us another data point.
This is what they paid for each ring:
1991 Capps Ring
$39,360 October 2020
1992 Capps Ring
$47,970 October 2020
1993 Capps Ring
$45,510 October 2020
1996 Capps Ring
$24,600 October 2020
1997 Capps Ring
$49,200 October 2020
1998 Capps Ring
$49,200 October 2020
Did they get a good deal?
Yeah I think so. This was only about a 10% advance on the Rosenberg rings from February 2020, which seems a bit crazy to me.
There’s no good reason I can think of that the 1996 ring sold for a $25k discount to the rest. So that bumps the valuation up to around $280k for me.
Further, Jordan rookies have increased 40% since this auction, which bumps the valuation up another 20% to 40% in my view: $366k to $392k.
Finally, these rings were bought individually but now comprise a set. This is super rare. I’d assign it a 10% to 20% premium above what Rally paid.
So our range here is $403k to $470k.
My Verdict on the Bulls Rings
These rings are going to fly off the shelf Christmas Day. You’ll have dads on the west coast bashing their phones at 9am while their kids are tearing open their gifts. On the east coast, half cut parents will buy up their entire allotment.
These are our (useful) valuation data points:
Rosenberg Auction: $442k to $663k with some support at $486k
Rally Auction: $403k to $470k
At $300k, this asset is undervalued by a minimum of around 40%.
The Bulls Rings are an easy 5/5 buy for me.
Thanks for reading. If you found this useful, please let me know.
Nothing in this email is intended to serve as financial or legal advice. Do your own research, you lazy rascals.