Jim Brown insists his 1964 NFL Championship ring was stolen but the auction company selling it says it bought the ring fair and square from a family member 16 years ago.
After Brown filed a lawsuit just one day before the auction was set to close, Lelands has decided to withdraw the ring from its online catalog.
In a story that’s made national headlines, Brown told a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer-Press earlier this month that the ring was stolen a few years after it was given to him following the Cleveland Browns’ NFL championship victory.
Lelands says Brown saw the ring when it was first offered for sale in 1998 and never said anything about it being stolen.
According to Lelands Chairman Josh Evans, it was acquired from one of Brown’s family members who signed it over. The ring was sold and the person who bought it back then is again using Lelands to sell it at auction. Bidding had pushed past $50,000 late Thursday but on Friday, the auction company announced that the lot had been pulled from the sale, stating:
Jim Brown’s 1964 NFL Championship Ring is being withdrawn from the auction. While we regret this controversy with Mr. Brown, who we personally admire as a great athlete, his claims are entirely without merit and we intend to vigorously defend against them. The provenance and chain of title for the ring are indisputable. After a successful resolution of this matter, we will sell the ring at one of our future auctions.
The 78-year-old Hall of Famer claims the meeting with Lelands never took place and also says he filed a police report about the missing ring in the 1960s but so far Brown hasn’t provided any specific information about the theft to reporters who’ve asked.
The remainder of Lelands’ auction continued into the wee hours of Saturday.