A 2017 World Series ring put up for auction to raise funds for COVID-19 relief was pulled from the bidding at Goldin Auctions after the Houston Astros cited a previously undisclosed restriction on the sale of the ring.
The ring is controversial to begin with as it came as a result of the Astros defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a World Series victory tainted by Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.
David Brito, a former Astros scout, received one of the 1,332 rings distributed to players, coaches, clubhouse and training staff, and various other members of the Astros organization. He subsequently sold the ring to a well-respected ring dealer, who in turn sold the ring to the person who consigned it with Goldin Auctions, Ken Goldin revealed to SCD.
The consigner agreed to donate 100 percent of his net proceeds to the CAMCare Foundation for COVID-19-related causes at New Jersey’s Cooper Hospital and PPE at CAMCare health centers. At first, Goldin Auctions agreed to donate a portion of the buyers’ premium to those causes, but when the ring began getting so much publicity, it decided to make it a charity auction and give 100 percent of its buyers’ premium.
Then the Astros came calling.
The Astros claimed Brito had signed an agreement that provided the Astros the right to buy the ring for one dollar, a move presumably made to prevent the sale of the ring for profit. The club contacted Goldin Auctions, saying it “didn’t care” about the details about giving to charity and just wanted the ring back.
Goldin spoke directly with Brito, who claims he did not sign any agreement. Brito had given the ring dealer a letter of authenticity and signed a letter of transfer stating he owned the ring free and clear of any liens or incumbrances.
Goldin told SCD that he usually lets his attorneys deal with issues like these, but he spoke to the Astros directly, attempting to reason with them.
“Do you really want to stop this?” Goldin asked the Astros. “They said, basically, ‘It’s really nice, we’ve done things for charity ourselves, and we want the ring back, end of story.’”
Goldin told the Astros since he didn’t own the ring, he wouldn’t be sending it to the club but to the consigner, and if they wanted to pursue it, they could take it from there.
“It was highly disappointing,” Golden told SCD. “I even offered to them, ‘Why don’t you do a good deed? If you want the ring pulled, why don’t you buy it back, this way I can give my consigner the cost he paid, he doesn’t want to make anything, I got his receipt, then give him the cost so he’s not out any money and all the excess money goes to charity. This way, you’re getting the ring back and you’re making a charitable donation,’ and they said no.”
Goldin said he is “so offended by the whole thing,” he plans to donate what his company’s share would have been, so he’s giving $5,000 to the aforementioned charities, saying "it's not fair they lose out on this."
Goldin said there had been eight bids, the top bid being worth $13,200 (with buyers' premium), when the lot was pulled. It was expected to fetch $30,000.
SCD reached out to the Houston Astros for comment and hopes to hear back from the club soon.
The ring was Lot #204 in the 2020 Spring Auction that concludes May 16. The Houston Chronicle reported on April 13 that the initial bid was $7,000 on the ring made from 10.55 carats with 214 diamonds, 16 natural blue sapphires and nine natural orange sapphires.
The ring features the team logo with the “H” created from diamonds, the star outlined in yellow gold set with custom-cut orange sapphires and surrounded by blue sapphires, around which are the words “WORLD CHAMPIONS.”
The Commissioner’s Trophy adorns the ring, which also features the words “HOUSTON STRONG” AND “EARNED HISTORY.”
Dave Strege is SCD Editor. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.