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1956 Duke Snider Brooklyn Dodgers National League Championship Ring - Last Pennant in Brooklyn!
Starting Bid - $5,000, Sold For - $32,588
1956 Brooklyn Dodgers National League Championship ring issued to Hall of Fame center fielder Duke Snider. This ring originates directly from Duke Snider and has the special provenance of having once resided in the famed Barry Halper Collection. Ideally, it is accompanied by both a handwritten LOA from Duke Snider, as well as a typed-signed letter from Barry Halper attesting to its provenance. Snider's LOA is written in blue Sharpie on a lined index card (Halper often had players write letters on index cards so that they could be displayed next to the respective item in his display case) and reads in full: "Barry - This National League Championship ring that I am giving you is the original ring presented to me by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956. I am honored to have it in your museum. Your Pal - Duke Snider. 2-10-84." Halper's letter, written on his personal stationery (dated October 8, 1997), acknowledges the fact that he received it directly from Snider. In full: To whom it may concern: This 1956 Brooklyn Dodger National League Championship Ring was personally given to me by Duke Snider in 1984. It was his one and only 1956 ring, as he wrote on the card which accompanies the ring. It was ordered small so that it might be worn as a pinky ring." As noted in Halper's letter, the 10K-gold ring, manufactured by Dieges and Clust, is indeed small (size is approximately 6.25) and if it were not worn by Snider as a pinky ring, as he indicated to Halper, it could easily have been worn by his wife as well. (Rings were often custom made in smaller size for wives, and in general would be indistinguishable from rings custom-made for use as pinky rings.)
For some reason 1956 Dodgers player rings are so rare that we have actually been unable to find another to compare. Interestingly, the only other 1956 Dodgers ring we have located is a front-office ring. It is the same design, with no name, and is also 10K and manufactured by Dieges & Clust. This ring and many others can be viewed on the sportsrings.com reference site (http://www.sports-rings.com/bb.htm). We haven't found any other player rings yet, and we think it it because while the players could arrange to get a ring if desired, they were not automatically distributed. Few were interested in the "losers" ring. The Dodgers had won the World Championship the previous year in 1955, and the players proudly wore that ring. The closest we have found to another 1956 player ring so far is "Pee Wee" Reese's 1956 ring, with provenance direct from the Reese family, sold by Lelands in April 2007 (lot 264). But that ring was NOT a true 1956 Dodgers Championship ring. It was (as properly described) a 1956 Dodgers cuff link that had been converted by a jeweler into a ring. Why would "Pee Wee" Reese have this made (by or for him) and NOT have a traditional 1956 ring as offered here? Obviously, because he was not given a traditional ring. We suspect that anyone on the team who got a ring in 1956 had to pay for it or otherwise make special arrangements and there were few takers. We also suspect that the reason Duke Snider got a pinky ring is two fold: 1) he wanted an NL Championship ring even though he had a 1955 World Championship ring; and 2) he wanted a pinky ring because this way he could wear it. He already wore the 1955 World Champs ring and so he could only wear a second ring comfortably as a pinky ring. In addition (while we have not personally seen it or even images of it) it is our understanding that Brooklyn's Randy Jackson has a 1956 ring. This makes sense in that Randy Jackson joined Brooklyn in 1956. He did not have a 1955 ring! Perhaps the players that were with the team only in 1956 were even provided a ring by the club, unlike the 1955 team members. Sure, we admit there's some speculation here. But we think we're on the right track!
Back to Duke Snider's 1956 Dodgers ring! The front of the ring features four small diamonds, which represent the bases in the baseball-field design, and a single blue stone. The lettering along the bezel reads "1956 Brooklyn National League Champions." Both the left and right shanks feature the identical design consisting of a representation of Ebbets Field, the year, "1956," and the team name, "Dodgers," engraved on a representation of a banner, below which is a crossed-bat-and-ball motif. Both "Dieges & Clust" and "10 Karat" are engraved on the interior band. The Dodgers looked to repeat as World Champions in 1956 but were once again thwarted by their crosstown rivals, the New York Yankees. Snider was one of the hitting stars for the Dodgers in the Series, batting .304 with 1 home run and 4 RBI. Brooklyn Dodgers championship rings dating from the 1950s are scarce, especially those worn by prominent players, such as Snider. The fact that this ring comes with first-party provenance, is so exceedingly rare, and also commemorates the club's final pennant in Brooklyn, all add to its enormous appeal and historical significance. Near Mint condition. Weight: 25 grams. LOA from James Spence/JSA (for the Snider handwritten LOA). Reserve $5,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $32,588
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