Appraisal Video: (4:40)
Collectibles, Sports Memorabilia
Leila Dunbar Appraisals & Consulting, LLC
GUEST: My father was the last original Cleveland Brown to retire. His career extended from 1946 to 1968, and he's known as Lou "The Toe" Groza.
APPRAISER: And why is that?
GUEST: He was a phenomenal placekicker, and he's inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I might add that if there was a Hall of Fame for fathers, he'd be in it as well; he was a great dad. I was probably seven years old when he retired from the Browns. A recent honor is the NCAA has an award named after him for the top kicker of the year, which is kind of a neat thing to continue his legacy, even though he's been long gone. He died, unfortunately, ten years ago.
APPRAISER: At 76, right?
GUEST: 76 was his age when he died, and that's the number that they retired many years ago with the Cleveland Browns.
APPRAISER: Now, what did he do after he retired?
GUEST: Well, even when he was playing back then, they had to have second jobs. He had an insurance business, and he'd get out of a football game and the next day he'd be trying to sell insurance.
APPRAISER: So these are items from your dad's career.
GUEST: Yeah-- what we have here on the right is one of his football jerseys. On the left here, I have my dad's... one of his sideline jackets. And one Thanksgiving after my father passed, my mom came in with a paper bag and we all drew cards, and we selected rings out of a bag, and this is the ring I got. It's the 1950 championship ring, which he wore many, many years, and it means a lot to me because it was the Browns' first championship in the NFL, and he won it with a last-second field goal on Christmas Eve back in 1950.
APPRAISER: Right, against the Rams, right?
GUEST: Exactly. Exactly. I get home after getting this ring. I was going through some images and the one up top is actually a picture of him holding me as a baby, and he's wearing that ring, so it kind of gives you chill bumps, seeing that.
APPRAISER: That's fantastic. Well, I think you're even being a little modest about your dad, because your dad was part of eight championship teams. The Browns played in the AAFC, All-American Football Conference, winning four championships in a row. The league folded and they became part of the NFL. When you think of the Browns today, they haven't been to a Super Bowl in years.
APPRAISER: They haven't won since '64, and it's largely part because of your father, Otto Graham, Paul Brown, Jim Brown. These were the men who were behind the great Brown teams, and they won, of course, in '50, this year, as well as '54, '55 and '64.
GUEST: He was the only member of the Browns in history to be on each of their championship games, which is kind of neat.
APPRAISER: Is there a funny moment that you remember about your dad in football?
GUEST: There's one where he was probably 45 when he retired, and in his earlier years he used to take great pride in kicking off and running down and making the tackle as a kicker.
GUEST: But in the later years, when he was older, he was 45, he was slower, heavier, as you can see in that picture, so Paul Brown would keep him back as a safety valve, and he happened to be kicking off, it was probably one of his last games, and a rookie from the opposing team knocked him down on his back, and my dad laid there, dazed, and this young guy reached down and said, "Sorry, Mr. Groza."
GUEST: So that kind of emulate... that tells you what kind of respect he earned from being in the NFL that long.
APPRAISER: Well, let's get to the values. So you have this great sideline jacket that your dad wore, I'm guessing this was in the '60s, as well as this jersey. We can't place it for sure. Now, insurance value on the jacket, which of course has the old Browns logo, the Brownie logo... I'd probably put about $5,000 value. The jersey, because we can't place it to a particular year, I would put about $10,000 on that.
APPRAISER: If you had a jersey from one of the four championship years, or even the AAFC years, then that would be a higher value.
APPRAISER: But the bulk of the value here is in the ring. It's the first championship that the Browns won after they came into the NFL, and they won it in an extremely dramatic fashion. So an insurance value on it, it would be at least $45,000.
GUEST: Wow, okay.
APPRAISER: Exactly. So you have a total value of around $60,000.
GUEST: Okay, wonderful.