Cubs championship rings doing big business for Jostens

Chicago Cubs fans continue to prove they can't get enough championship gear -- even the most expensive type.

Jostens started selling World Series Champion jewelry, including rings, on April 12, and in the first full week of sales, it sold two times more title jewelry than it had for any other championship team, said Chris Poitras, who heads up Jostens' college and sports division.

"The Cubs championship story was a story that was like nothing else we've ever seen," Poitras said. "And the fans have reacted in a truly special way."

Most of the sales have come from rings, which start at $299 for silver metal and cubic zirconia stones and go all the way up to $10,800 for a white gold ring with 144 diamonds, 55 sapphires and 13 rubies.

Poitras said the most common purchase is the $499 deluxe ring, which comes in 10-karat white gold or sterling silver.

As of Thursday night, Jostens had sold 93 of the $10,800 rings, limited to a run of 108, with the expectation to sell them out by next week.

"Cubs fans prove to be the best in the game time and time again," said Colin Faulkner, Cubs senior vice president of sales and marketing. "It's no surprise to see such impressive demand for these mementos commemorating our historic World Series championship."

The top fan ring has 65 to 70 grams of gold compared to the 100 grams of gold on the rings given to the players, making it about 30 percent smaller. The high-end fan rings will come in a special box and will be delivered to fans by early June, Poitras said.

Poitras not only credits the rabid fan base with the reaction, but also the sales environment. Unlike in the past, where Jostens has had pop-up-type shops within team facilities and team stores, Jostens has an actual retail location at the nearby Park at Wrigley, which it has leased from the Cubs ownership's real estate arm, Hickory Street Capital Partners, for a year.

"Having a more traditional environment for the sale of these rings has made a difference," Poitras said.

Once the 108 limited-edition rings are sold out, there might be a strong resale market for those rings, especially if they have a phrase like "Holy Cow!" on them instead of a person's name.

That's because while the players themselves can sell their rings, employees of the team cannot, or at least not before offering the rings back to the Cubs for $1.

Fans who bought the highest end of rings are not bound by the same provisions.

The retail value of the players' rings have not been disclosed.

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