Dear Maria, I have some college rings and crest rings from my grandfather. I think they are made of gold and silver but I’m not 100% sure. My mum told me that our grandpa always assured that these rings are valuable. Please help me to find out more about the value of this college rings. How much is a college ring worth? Is there a good place where I can sell these rings? I’m unsure about the value because a local pawn shop offered me for all my college rings only $500 and I’m not sure if this is a good deal or not.
Sarah from Austin, Texas
Dear Sarah, college rings are always valuable if they are made of gold. You can expect to get paid at least the material value for your college rings. For some college rings you can expect to get even more than just the material value: vintage college rings from the 1920s, 1930s or 1940s are in high demand. I remember a WW2-time college ring selling for $5,000. It really depends on the specific college ring you have. If you can help me with some additional information and photos we will find out together how much your college rings are worth.
reDollar appraiser Maria Tait
Sarah wants to know, how much is a college ring worth?
Sarah: I became some very nice college rings from my grandpa. He loved collectibles. Our community flea market was his second home, our grandma always joked. He was very interested in colleges, universities, science, research, and vintage technical instruments. I inherited some pretty college rings and crest ring from him along with a globe from the 1920s and an astronomical telescope from the 18th century. I’m not sure if I really want to sell the rings but I have to pay for my student loan and some hundred dollars would help me a lot, especially during the winter time when I can’t do so many jobs like in the summer. How much is a college ring worth, Maria? And do you know a good place where to sell college rings?
Maria: Your college rings are really very interesting. I would describe them, especially the biggest one, as outstanding. Well, two or three of your rings are damaged but the others look very good to me. I’ve asked you to look for hallmarks and stamps and gladly you found hallmarks on almost every ring. That is very helpful for the value determination, thank you.
Sarah: It was difficult and I needed the help from my brother to identify all hallmarks. Some hallmarks are scratched and rubbed but in the end we did a good job, I guess.
Maria: Yes, you did! And thanks to you, we know that all rings are marked as “10K” or “14K” gold. This shows us that your rings are made of gold – all of them. Also the rings that look more like silver.
Sarah: How can silver-colored rings be made of gold?
Maria: In nature, gold always comes in yellow. That’s true. But lots of metals can be used as an alloy to create brighter colors. In most cases, silver, palladium, nickel, manganese, or zinc is used to change the gold’s natural yellow color. Other metals like iron, platinum, or chromium can also be used but aren’t so commonly used to alloy with gold. Especially nickel isn’t used very often. Nickel can cause allergic reactions and nickel alloyed gold can excite the skin surface, what can lead to a red mottled skin. Nowadays, the jewelry industry avoids using nickel for alloying. Moreover, white gold has a natural yellow-shade which can only be removed by performing a galvanic process. I couldn’t physically check and examine your rings with an X-ray machine but I’m very sure that you have white gold rings.
Sarah: What a complex topic but also very fascinating. Usually, you just look at the rings without asking yourself such questions. What about the value? How much is a college ring worth?
Maria: I have very good news for you, extremely good news. First, most of your rings can be considered normal college rings without having a specific collector’s value. These rings sell for the gold price. A ring like these can sell between $70 and $200, depending on the weight and purity. Unfortunately, it was not possible for you do determine the precise weight so I can’t tell you the exact value. Once you know the weight of your rings, please contact me again or calculate the value by using our gold calculator.
Sarah: Of course, I will do so. Maria, I’m so excited to hear the good news.
Maria: Your grandpa and you are very lucky. Do you know what? You have an academic class ring from the most famous West Point Military Academy and this class ring is really old. It’s from 1872. Sadly, I can’t identify the ring’s engraving. The engravings show the name of the graduated student. The number 72 is set in the center of the intaglio with the words “Vota Vita Mea” what means translated “My Life is a Prayer”. This class ring is a piece of history and extremely rare. I estimate a value of approximately $3,000. Sarah, if we find out that this class ring belongs to a very famous person, it can be worth much more.
Sarah: I would have never expected to have such a ring. Are you really sure?
Maria: Well, theoretically I could err. This ring could be a fake but it looks really authentic, vintage, and worn on your photos. It could be a vintage fake but I don’t think so. I’m very sure that this class ring is an authentic West Point Military Academy class ring.
Sarah: What makes this class ring so valuable?
Maria: The provenience and the rarity. Class rings and college rings from military academies like West Point or Naval are highly desirable. Class rings from the Naval Academy, especially the vintage rings, can sell for some thousand dollars. Some years ago, I appraised a class ring from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI). I appraised the ring for $2,000 and finally it was sold via an auction house for almost $3,500. You see, it’s all about the provenience and the history behind a piece of jewelry.
Sarah: I understand. Maria, if I can afford it, I will keep this special ring but I will sell all the other rings with your company. What are the next steps?
Maria: There is a “Start Now” button on our website where you can start the selling process by requesting a free and insured shipping kit or by getting a free, insured shipping label by email. If you want, I can give you a call to discuss the process with you. I also want to thank you for sharing such an interesting piece of American history with me and our readers.
Sarah: You’re very welcome, Maria. Thank you so much for your brilliant support and the informative conversation.