The biggest Super Bowl ring ever made will go up for auction Wednesday afternoon. The Super Bowl ring given to William “Refrigerator” Perry, the super-sized defensive lineman who played a key role in the Chicago Bears’ romp to victory in Super Bowl XX, was spotted on LiveAuctioneers, an auction website specializing in art, antiques, jewelry and collectibles.
The move to auction Perry’s ring was likely not Perry's call; his brother, Michael Dean Perry, who also played in the NFL, is the Fridge's assigned legal guardian and conservator of his affairs. It was also likely made out of financial desperation. Despite a successful career that lasted more than a decade, many years longer than the NFL average, as well as numerous endorsement and appearance opportunities that extended well past his playing years, the former Clemson standout fell on hard times after his career ended. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome in 2008, a disorder that was worsened by Perry’s ongoing battle with alcoholism.
Last year, months after missing a reunion of the Bears Super Bowl team that won the 1985 Super Bowl, it was reported that the former football star owed $26,000 in back taxes on his home in South Carolina.
One big ring
Aside from the fact that it belonged to Perry, whose fun-loving personality kept him in the public consciousness well after his playing days ended, the ring has the added distinction of being the largest Super Bowl ring ever made. According to the ring’s auction page listing, Perry’s ring was a size 25, nearly five and a half inches in circumference or about two and a half times larger than the most commonly ordered male ring size on leading ring retailer Blue Nile.
Among championship ring aficionados, that alone gives the ring some added heft. “While it is widely known in the hobby that the ring was rather widely reproduced due to its crowd-pleasing absurdity,” the ring’s listing reads, “we can confirm definitively that this is the one and only original presented to Perry for his part in ‘shuffling’ to Super Bowl XX victory.”
The ring will be on display starting Wednesday morning at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Dallas. Formal bidding will begin at 5:00 p.m., with bids starting at $16,000.