China is known for producing goods that are less expensive than most and, in many cases when an item says Made In China, it’s often of inferior quality.  The old adage “you get what you pay for” rings true more than ever with many of these products.  If you’re shopping for a piece of memorabilia from any major sports league and come across a championship ring that is priced too good to be true, chances are, it’s fake.

Plenty Made In China!

The counterfeit ring industry has gotten a little thinner as officers with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have confiscated three shipments made in China that contained an array of championship rings from the NFL, MLB and NHL.  All that glitters isn’t always gold.

The rings were found in shipments that arrived in Memphis, TN and were meant to be exact replicas of the jewelry handed out to players after winning various championships.  The seizures took place between October 2018 and September of this year, and 631 rings total will never make it to the streets.

One ring was the New England Patriots Super Bowl ring, another was the World Series ring given to St. Louis Cardinals players and the third was a New York Yankees World Series ring.  The street value for 631 authentic rings is a little more than $6.3 million, but the craftsmanship and inferior packaging of the shipments was enough for the agents to look at the products more closely before determining that they were fake.

CBP Memphis Port Director Michael Neipert states, “One of CBP’s responsibilities is to protect Intellectual Property Rights. Our officers do a great job of detecting and seizing counterfeit goods,” adding, “If a deal on a trademarked item appears too good to be true, it probably is.”

These three shipments aren’t the only ones to have popped up in Chinese imports recently.  Just last month, CBP officers in Philadelphia found 11 counterfeit World Series and Super Bowl rings, all made in China.  Combined, their real value is around $526,000.

Also this year in March, 177 counterfeit rings were intercepted as they made a landing at JFK.  CBP officers once again became suspicious and examined the packages closer, discovering fake rings that were billed as authentic Yankees World Series rings, as well as those of the NFL, the NHL and the NCAA.  The value if real?  A massive $12 million.

But wait, there’s more.  In September, CBP officers at LAX intercepted a wooden box destined for Arizona that contained 28 NBA rings.  The agency’s director of field operations in LA, Carlos C. Martel, stated, “Scammers take advantage of collectors and pro basketball fans desiring to obtain a piece of sports history.  This seizure illustrates how CBP officers and import specialists protect not only trademarks, but most importantly, the American consumer.”

It’s impossible to call yourself a real sports fan if you knowingly put on some fake bling.  Everyone with even a little bit of brains will know that it’s fake as you step into your 20-year-old Honda Accord and drive away.  The price of a real ring, even for the most desperate athlete looking for some quick cash, is out of reach for most people, and no one is going to be fooled that easily if you’re sporting a championship ring.

If you want to show off, do it the right way.  Perhaps Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will sell you one of his remaining two rings.  He sold four of them at auction this past March for a tidy $1.23 million, so you only need to cough up around $650,000 to buy one of the others.