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Customs officers have seized a shipment of fake championship rings worth a combined $2.38 million in Chicago, after spotting the fraudulent collectibles due to their ‘poor quality’ and lack of ‘security features.’
The agency did not say who sent them or if anyone had been arrested in a press release Tuesday.
The collector’s items represented professional teams across various sports. Among them were 34 rings from the New York Yankees, 24 from the Chicago Bulls, 22 from the St. Louis Cardinals and six from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The 86 fake rings, representing various teams, came from China and were headed to Missouri
Real championship rings, like the Yankees ring above seen during a press conference in the Bronx in April 2010, vary in the price depending on the team, year and player in question
‘Shipments like these prey on the many sports fans across the nation who may be scammed into paying high prices for fake memorabilia,’ said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, the director of field operations in Chicago.
‘I’m extremely proud of these officers’ determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.’
Chicago’s Trade Enforcement Team the agency’s own Centers of Excellence and Expertise ‘determined the rings were counterfeit due to the fact that all of the goods were constructed of poor quality and lacked security features,’ the agency said.
They warn that the rise of e-commerce has left consumers more vulnerable to counterfeit goods, as these are often shipped from abroad and sometimes fund organized crime operations.
US Customs and Border Protection, above at the Chicago O’Hare airport, seized up to $1.5 billion worth of fake goods in 27,600 shipments throughout 2019
In 2019, CBP seized nearly 27,600 shipments containing fake goods worth up to $1.5 billion had they been real.
The value of legitimate championship rings depends on many factors: the team, the significance of the win and the player or team associate who owned it, to name a few.
In 2008, the New York Giants’ Super Bowl ring designed by Tiffany cost $5,500 and had an estimated value of about $25,000, according to the New York Times.
Currently, an authentic 2001 championship ring won by former Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal is going for $29,500 on eBay.
The 14-karat gold ring with yellow and white diamonds was presented to his publicist Donnie Wilson, whose name is engraved in the inner band.
Last month, customs officers came across two shipments from China and Hong Kong containing 500 pieces of fake Cartier jewelry worth $5.24 million in the open market.
The shipments were headed for Florida and Mississippi and were mixed among other bracelets and rings, some of which were real.
Source: Daily Mail