Through out the years many companies have capitalized on the Superman name and popularity. One of the more popular rings that can still be somewhat easily found today by collectors is the Superman Crusader ring which was produced in the late 1940s. This ring was a promotion item put out by the Kelloggs company that was tied into the the radio serials/shows of the day. The crusader ring was often tied into the radio story’s plot in one form of another. Over the years these have become more and more scarce simply with the passing of time but a good number are still out on the market. The Superman Crusader ring was made of tin with a “silver” finish. Collectors should please note that the crusader ring was produced with a simple “silver” finish which over time faded to a copper like tone as the finish wore off and faded. Some sketchy sellers have tried to pass off higher quality crusader rings as being made of actual silver. This is a no no. These rings were made for kids in the 1940s as a cheap company promo and were never cast in genuine silver.
This ring was square in shape and had the words Superman and Crusader stamped into the ring shanks. Most of these rings found today may be slightly warped in shape as they were made of thin tin. Depending on condition and remaining finish these rings have a value of $300-$400.(Based on Sotheby’s auctions)
In 1940, Gum Inc., located in Philadelphia secured the rights to issue Superman Adventure Story cards in a 1 cent package which also contained the company’s bubble gum. For the promo a beautiful wrapper was designed which had a small coupon printed on the inside of the wrapper. When kids collected five of these wrappers they could send them in along with 10 cents, for the choice of ethier a Superman ring or a Superman Badge. It was general practice by companies back in the 1940s issuing premiums or promos to not actually order the giveaways until the offers expiration date had elapsed. Then the company would add up the requests for items and order them. This was a way for a company back then to save money and not over buy on cheap giveaways. In some cases it took up to six months for kids to receive the premium they had ordered. The Superman gum program only met with moderate success and was discontinued the same year that it had been started.
This is what accounts for the rarity of both the Ring and badge. The ring is considered to be one of the rarest Superman collectibles in existence today. There are only eight known rings in existence to this day. All eight are known to be held in private collections to date. Recent rankings and auctions have priced this ring from $17,000-$70,000 depending on condition. These rings of course were also made of tin with a gold-brass color finish. The inside secret compartment came with a Superman circle paper insert.
So as a collector you might be thinking very cool but I don’t have a couple hundred or an extra $70k laying around to drop on a ring for my collection. And that’s cool, something that I suggest collectors start looking at might be the 1979 Nestles promo ring that was issued based on the popularity of the first Christopher Reeves Superman movie. The promo was very similar to the Gum Inc., giveaway as people could send in 10 Nestle wrappers to get themselves a very cool Superman ring. The ring had an acrylic circular Superman logo insert surrounded by a square gold-brass finished bezel.
While these rings are still readily available with time I can see them becoming harder and harder to find. Some can even still be had sealed in the original plastic bag that the company sent the ring to you in. The price of these rings has fluctuated from $15-$50, on eBay a good early buy in price for collectors on an item that may earn some value over time. Up up and away!!!.