Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl ring Jerry Jones gave Clarence Thomas could be worth $100k

The justice, assailed over undisclosed gifts, did report the ring in 1995. Sports memorabilia experts say it would fetch plenty at auction.

WASHINGTON — Long forgotten until last week, the Super Bowl ring Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave Justice Clarence Thomas in 1994 has skyrocketed in value.

One memorabilia expert says it could be worth upwards of $100,000.

The rings the players themselves got after Super Bowl XXVIII each cost $7,500, most of which came from the NFL. Thomas, who’d proclaimed his Cowboys fandom at his confirmation hearing a few years earlier, was on hand for the presentation of the bling.

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But the specs of his ring are lost to history, which makes its current value a matter of some speculation.

“Typically, a non-player ring would go for $20,000 to $25,000,” said Ken Goldin, known to Netflix viewers as the “King of Collectibles” and founder of a leading auction house. “Due to the significance of Justice Thomas, I would say $100,000 or more in this case.”


Thomas has been under attack for months over lavish — and undisclosed — vacations provided to him for years by another Dallas billionaire, real estate magnate Harlan Crow.

Emmitt Smith's Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXVIII ring, photographed at Valley Ranch on Jan. 13, 2010. Dallas defeated the Buffalo Bills 30-13. Later in 1994, owner Jerry Jones gave Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a Super Bowl XXVIII ring, though it was likely less ornate.(TOM FOX/Staff Photographer)

A New York Times story last weekend that explored the wealthy circles that opened to Thomas when he joined the Supreme Court in 1991 mentioned in passing that Jones gave him a Super Bowl ring.

The story set off a flurry of social media chatter and breathless news articles, the assumption and implication being that this, too, was a gift Thomas never disclosed.


It turns out that he did disclose it — on his 1994 ethics form, according to an Associated Press account from May 1995, when the court released the annual filings.

That form is no longer available for inspection.

Back then, the court kept those forms for only a few years. A 2004 Los Angeles Times story on the gifts reported by the justices said anything older than 1998 was no longer on file.

The Dallas Cowboys declined to comment. An inquiry to the Supreme Court on Friday went unanswered.

Dallas fan Silverio Delgado, displays his Super Bowl Ring reproductions while tailgating at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, during a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Football Team on Dec. 26, 2021.(John F. Rhodes / Special Contributor)

A ring owned by a Supreme Court justice is unique, which makes it hard to put a price on without more details.

“Is it a player-style ring or one of those awarded to front-office personnel?” said Chris Ivy, director of sports auctions at Dallas-based Heritage Auctions.


A ring from the 1993 Cowboys victory in Super Bowl XXVIII “could range from $5,000 to $25,000″ based on previous auctions, Ivy said. “Of course, it’s hard to give a precise estimation without examining it. But in the end, it’s ultimately worth whatever two people are willing to pay.”

Among the rings Heritage currently has listed is a Super Bowl XXX ring presented to Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown, the game’s MVP, on offer for $120,000. The ring sold for $89,626 in 2015.

Last year, a Super Bowl XXX ring presented to defensive back Scott Case sold for $55,200.

The Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl XXVIII ring is on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in this Aug. 4, 2021, photo.(Tom Fox / Staff Photographer)

Not impartial on Cowboys

The Cowboys have won five times.

The last time was in 1996, a 27-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. They beat the Buffalo Bills in 1993 and 1994. They also beat the Denver Broncos in 1978 and the Miami Dolphins in 1972, though those wins were before Jones bought the team from Bum Bright in 1989.

A Super Bowl LIII ring currently up for sale on eBay is listed at $115,000. It’s not even quarterback Tom Brady’s: This one went to New England Patriots running back Jeremy Hill, who tore an ACL in his first game that season and never played again.


The ring — size 12.5 — has 424 diamonds totaling 8.25 carats. It’s described as “used” but in excellent condition.

In this Oct. 12, 1991, photo Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Biden, D-Del., points angrily at Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas at the end of his confirmation hearing. At right, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.(Greg Gibson / AP)
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas denounces and denies sexual harassment allegations against him during his Senate confirmation hearing on Oct. 11, 1991.(JOHN DURICKA / AP)

A salesman sample from 1974 for the Steelers — that is, not a ring ever given to a player — is listed on eBay for $7,000.


A set of boxes the rings come in — just the boxes, plus a replica trophy — is priced at $20,000 on eBay.

Thomas’ affection for the Cowboys predates his service on the Supreme Court.

At his September 1991 confirmation hearing, he declined to state his views on abortion but readily testified under oath that when it comes to the NFL, he is not impartial.


“I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan for 25 years,” he told the senators.

It’s not uncommon for longtime members of Congress to become devoted fans of the local team. Then-Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., quipped that “to have you in this nest of Redskins fans, to be a Dallas Cowboys fan, certainly discloses a degree of independence which will serve you very well on the court.”

A year later, Thomas was in Jones’s box for a Cowboys-Redskins game. Over the next few years, he would attend training camp sporting a jersey with the number 106 — he was the 106th justice. He would fly on Jones’ private jet.

He even led the team’s chapel service ahead of another Redskins game.

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