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Lot # 1342 (of 1807)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1950 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees World Series Ring

Starting Bid - $2,500.00, Sold For - $16,590.00

Offered here is one of the most enigmatic New York Yankees World Series rings we have ever handled. What makes this particular ring all the more intriguing is the name engraved within: "Joe DiMaggio." As most collectors know, Joe DiMaggio claimed that all of his original New York Yankees World Series rings, with the exception of his 1936 ring, were stolen from him during one of his stays at the Lexington Hotel in New York during the early 1960s. They were never recovered. Is this possibly one of the rings stolen from DiMaggio at that time? If not, then what is it?

We will begin by addressing the first question, because it is the most obvious and pressing. We know this is not the original ring issued to Joe DiMaggio (for his own use) simply because of its size. This ring is size 6, which would make it much too small for nearly all men. Furthermore, it must be noted that the ring is not a full-size example, meaning that the entire piece has been reduced in scale to compliment the smaller measurement. That fact is particularly important. It has not been resized from a standard-issue ring, nor is it simply a standard-issue ring in a very small size. The ring was specially produced in this diminutive state by the manufacturer. If so, why does it have Joe DiMaggio's name engraved within the band?

The answer to that question relates to its provenance: This ring originates not from the fabled "Yankee Clipper," but from his son, Joe DiMaggio Jr. Our consignor was very good friends with Joe DiMaggio Jr., and in her accompanying one-page letter of provenance (signed and notarized), she details the ring's history. In part:

I would like to give you a history of the ring as I remember it. I arrived in South Florida in January of 1960 and a short time later met my husband to be. It was when living on a house boat at a country club marina that I met Joe DiMaggio Jr. Joe Jr. frequented the area as it was very active and another houseboat owner conducted a ski school which was quite the social scene. I cooked many a meal for Joe Jr. and he became good friends with my future husband. Joe Jr. loved Marilyn Monroe and told us he spoke with her often. When Joe Jr. desired to return to California my husband gave him the funds he needed and Joe Jr. gave him the ring as payment for his help. This transaction was in 1961 or 1962 as we were married in 1963. I was not present for the transaction and do not know the dollar amount. My husband passed away nine years ago and this item has been a part of his estate since this transaction.

The ring itself is 14K gold and identical in design to the 1950 New York Yankees World Series rings issued to the players. A real diamond sits in the center of a representation of a baseball diamond on the front. "New York Yankees World Champions" is lettered in relief along the bezel. Each shank features a floral motif and displays the New York Yankees "Top Hat" logo, above which is the year, "1950." Engraved on the interior of the band are "14 Karat," Dieges & Clust," and "Joe DiMaggio." The fact that this ring is 14K gold, features a real diamond (REA had the ring examined by a jeweler to confirm that the diamond was indeed real and not a CZ stone), and has DiMaggio's name engraved in it by Dieges & Clust, defines it as not being a salesman's sample, while the size precludes it from ever having been worn by DiMaggio. If so, who ordered it, and why? Given the information that we have and its provenance, we believe it to be a certainty that DiMaggio ordered this ring for his son, Joe Jr., who was nine years old in 1950 (and was often a fixture in the clubhouse at the time, including having his own properly sized Yankees uniforms provided for him to wear). It certainly falls within the size parameters for a nine year old's finger and would also explain why Joe Jr. had the ring. If it were a woman's ring, who did DiMaggio have it made for? Certainly not his first wife, Dorothy Arnold. The two divorced in 1944 and she remarried in 1946. It could not have been for Marilyn Monroe either, as the two did not meet until after DiMaggio retired. It's possible that DiMaggio had the ring made for his then current girlfriend, but if so, how did Joe Jr. come to have it years later? The most plausible answer we can think of is the obvious: DiMaggio had the ring specially produced for his young son at the time. If so, then this offering represents a rare opportunity to acquire an original Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees World Series ring, albeit a scaled-down version sized for a child or woman, not to mention an incredible conversation piece. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++. SOLD FOR $16,590.00

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