A Penn State memorabilia collector and reputable seller on eBay listed Jerry Sandusky's 1986 Penn State national championship ring for auction this morning. The starting price is one dollar, but the seller tells Deadspin he's looking for somewhere in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars.
"I've been thinking about selling it for a year, and I thought, hell, I could use the money. The timing is right."
The collector, who has a few Penn State championship rings, bought the ring on eBay three years ago from a broker without knowing whose it was. When he found out it was Sandusky's, after picking the ring up, he was particularly excited. The collector spent time around the team during the early 1990s glory days, is a PSU season ticketholder, and comes from a Penn State family.
"My bedroom's covered floor-to-ceiling in Penn State memorabilia, signed photos. It's not so great for dating," he says.
The gaudy blue-and-white piece has Sandusky's name imprinted on the side—he was defensive coordinator on the undefeated 1986 team, and won Assistant Coach of the Year. Our seller suspects that Sandusky once sold the ring to raise money for his Second Mile foundation, and sometime later the ring wound up in the hands of one of the Penn State brokers.
He also has a Jerry Sandusky story: he and his brother met the coach when they were little kids. The seller's grandparents have a tailoring shop in State College, and Sandusky became friendly with the grandparents. But nothing unusual happened. "We met him—he was a nice guy, shook our hands."
Now, though, the nice guy might have helped end Joe Paterno's 46-year PSU tenure, and our seller says that might change his mind about the ring. "If Joe retires, there's a very good chance I'd pull the ring." He'd like to hang on to a relic of something that felled the coaching giant.
He says, "It sounds almost horrible, trying to collect on Jerry's indiscretions." He compared his ring to black market Van Goghs pilfered by Nazis during World War Two. But, hell, he could use the money.
Jerry Sandusky 1986 Penn State National Championship Ring [eBay, h/t Mike]