Court documents reveal perceived value of missing piece of Howard's Rock
|Tuesday, July 28, 2015 8:02 AM- -|
How much is Howard’s Rock worth to the Clemson faithful? It’s priceless. There isn’t a dollar amount that can be attached to the venerated and iconic rock that Clemson coaches and players have touched prior to each home football game since 1966.
On September 24th of that season, the rock made its debut at the season’s home opener as Clemson fought back from an 18-point deficit with 17 minutes left to beat Virginia 40-35. Head coach Frank Howard, now a believer, told his team “Give me 110 percent or keep your filthy hands off my rock.” It was at that point the legend began and the rock has been a part of Clemson folklore for almost 50 years. That folklore was shattered – literally and figuratively – when someone took a chunk out of the rock in June of 2013. That led to an arrest and last week’s trial of Micah Rogers, who was charged with the vandalism and theft of the missing piece.
On September 24th of that season, the rock made its debut at the season’s home opener as Clemson fought back from an 18-point deficit with 17 minutes left to beat Virginia 40-35. Head coach Frank Howard, now a believer, told his team “Give me 110 percent or keep your filthy hands off my rock.” It was at that point the legend began and the rock has been a part of Clemson folklore for almost 50 years.
That folklore was shattered – literally and figuratively – when someone took a chunk out of the rock in June of 2013. That led to an arrest and last week’s trial of Micah Rogers, who was charged with the vandalism and theft of the missing piece.
The prosecution tasked Leila “Lee” Dunbar at Dunbar Appraisals and Consulting to determine the fair market value of the missing piece of Howard’s Rock for the purpose of insurance and to assist the Clemson Athletic Department as necessary.
We’ve been told the report cost $20,000, so once the report was submitted into the court’s paperwork and it became a matter of public record, TigerNet received a copy of the appraisal.
The results aren’t shocking, but they are interesting, especially to Clemson fans:
The report started out with a Scope of Work clause:
Scope of Work Assignment: Leila Dunbar Appraisals and Consulting LLC (LD LLC) was asked by Clay Grayson of Grayson Thomas LLC (the client), to determine the fair market value of a missing piece of Howard’s Rock, the purpose of insurance and to assist the Clemson Athletic Department as necessary.
Definition of Value: Fair Market Value, is defined in IRS Section 1.170 and 20.2031 (b) as the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell and both having reasonable knowledge of relevant facts. According to Technical Advisory Memorandum 9235005 (May 27, 1992), fair market value should include the buyer’s premium. 20.2031 (b) continues the fair market value of an item of property includible in the decedent’s gross estate is not to be determined by a forced sale price. Nor is the fair market value of an item of property to be determined by the sale proceeds of that item in a market other than that in which such item is commonly sold to the public, taking into account the location of the item wherever appropriate. Thus in the case of an item of property includible in the decedent’s gross estate, which is generally obtained by the public in the retail market, the fair market value of such an item of property is the price at which the item or a comparable item would be sold at retail. (Treasury Regulation Section 1.170A- 130) (3) (1988).
What followed next was a history of Clemson football, a bio on Howard and the history of Howard’s Rock itself.
Legacy of Howard’s Rock
The Legacy Of Howard’s Rock And Importance In Sports History: Rubbing Howard’s Rock is one of the greatest traditions in college sports. It ranks #3 on NBC Sports Top 30 Best College Football Traditions; #6 on the Athlon Sports Top 25 College Football Traditions; #8 on the SI Kid’s list of Top 10 College Traditions. The College Football Hall of Fame will showcase a replica of Howard’s Rock for a display which will feature a tunnel leading to a model field. The other iconic symbols chosen to be recreated: the Notre Dame locker room “Play Like A Champion Today” sign and the Michigan “Go Blue” banner. Clemson teams have touched Howard’s Rock prior to every home game except during 2½ seasons in the early 1970s.
Hootie Ingram succeeded Howard as coach prior to the 1970 season and decided his teams would enter the stadium from the west end zone. The Tigers followed this route before each home game in 1970 and 1971 and the first four home games in 1972, going 6-9 at Memorial Stadium during that stretch. Prior to the South Carolina game in 1972, Clemson's players voted to run down the Hill, and they beat the Gamecocks 7-6. The Tigers have been running down the Hill ever since, with the team winning more than 70 percent of its home games. "Clemson's record at home is not a coincidence," former Tigers All-America kicker David Treadwell once said. "Running down the Hill is a part of that record. You get so inspired, and so much of college football is about emotion. You get out of that bus and you hear the roar of the crowd and it gives you chills up and down your spine."
Fans want to touch the rock for good luck; opposing teams want to destroy it. In 1992 rival University of South Carolina Gamecock fans vandalized the rock. Since then Clemson’s Army ROTC protects Howard’s Rock for the 24 hours leading up to every home Clemson-South Carolina game.
VALUATION OF THE ROCK
Valuation Narrative Value Characteristics: Sports collectors seek out game used equipment, balls and pucks, autographs, medals, awards and trophies, books, photos, tickets, programs, cards, artwork, sculpture, toys, games, pennants, ceramics and decorative objects, figures, jewelry, contracts, clothing, tools, documents, letters, signs, poster and miscellaneous stadium related items (turnstiles, stadium seats, bricks, pieces of parks, etc.) related to the game. Sports memorabilia is generally valued by the following criteria: 1) Historic Importance Of The Particular Item 2) Historical Importance Of The Player And/Or Team 3) Quality 4) Rarity 5) Desirability 6) Condition 7)
Provenance/Documentation/Authenticity Typically at the top of the value hierarchy for all sports memorabilia are items that have the closest connection to essence of the game, from the sport’s origins to Hall of Famers and championship winners to the sport’s most historic and/or famous (and sometimes infamous) moments. They are often unique game used equipment, balls, awards and related items from major tournaments, championship series and/or events or historic sports programs (Celtics, Yankees, Fighting Irish Football, UCLA Bruins Basketball), which puts them in a category of very short supply as compared to demand. This means that the most valuable memorabilia is from the sports’ greatest teams, programs and players representing their most significant achievements. The Sports Memorabilia Market: Collectors and casual fans alike purchase new manufactured objects and/or items produced from games and/or events related to professional, Olympic or college teams and players.
Methodology: The appraiser reviewed before and after photos of Howard’s Rock, and noted the 84” cubic inch size of the piece of rock now missing, which, per Clemson University, is approximately 15% percent of the total stone.
The next step was to review several different markets of memorabilia that overlap with Howard’s Rock in order to establish a value hierarchy; well-known good luck charms, Clemson related manufactured new souvenirs such as jerseys, helmets, rugs and figures; pro sports stadium memorabilia and college sports stadium related memorabilia.
The appraiser then analyzed the sales and compared them to the importance, desirability, rarity, condition and provenance of Howard’s Rock. The appraiser then considered potential markets for selling the missing rock, such as cutting it in pieces and then selling the pieces to Clemson fans. Clemson University provided the appraiser with calculations of several scenarios of numbers of pieces into which the rock could be broken.
In the analysis section the appraiser discusses the sales, comparable importance and potential market of the missing portion of Howard’s Rock, whether it is cut and sold in a large number of pieces, a smaller number of pieces or sold intact as one piece. The appraiser also has taken into consideration that the remaining piece of Howard’s Rock would never be sold, as, per discussions with Clemson officials.
TALISMANS AND GOOD LUCK CHARMS
The document then spent several pages detailing the value of various good luck pieces of different teams, including seats, signs and pieces of turf.
Analysis Of Comparables Sales And Valuation
Conclusion Based on the discussion of valuation and examination of the variety of sales of the Table 1-4 sections, the appraiser has determined that there is a market for the missing portion of Howard’s Rock, as it scores highly in the sports memorabilia value criteria of historical importance, rarity, desirability and condition.
Both pro and college memorabilia related sales have demonstrated that there is market demand for stadium related items, particularly seats, flags, grass, dirt and pieces of the infrastructure itself, such as pieces of famous walls and courts.
As shown in the Top College Memorabilia Sales Section, historically important and scarce items can sell from the tens of thousands into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As shown in the Table 1 Section, there is a large market for good luck charms ranging range of $5-$90 each, with most from $10-$50. As shown in the Table 2 Section, Clemson fans will willingly spend 50-$200, most $25- $75, manufactured items of infinite supply of Clemson logo items. There is even a football stone offered for $17-$20, with no Howard’s Rock connection.
As shown in the Table 3 Section, there is a large and wide market for pro stadium related memorabilia, with items regularly selling from the hundreds of dollars into the thousands of dollars and occasionally hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As shown in the Table 4 Section, there is also a significant market for college stadium related memorabilia, with items regularly selling from the hundreds of dollars into the thousands of dollars and occasionally hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is a much greater supply of professional stadium related items that have been offered than college stadium related items. The most offered college stadium items sold are seats, flags and pieces of flooring, generally from $100-$300.
Per Clemson University, there are approximately 136,360 living Clemson alumni and an enrollment of 21,303 as of the fall of 2013. This equals approximately 157,600 potential customers, not including collectors and non-alumni Clemson fans, especially those living in close proximity in South Carolina, a narrow yet deep market of potential buyers, including those who have been witness to the Howard’s Rock tradition. Therefore, the appraiser concludes that the most appropriate and potentially highest value market for the missing portion of Howard’s Rock would be to break it up in pieces and sell them to Clemson alumni, students and college fans.
Howard’s Rock is not the average piece of sports memorabilia. It was not used in a game like a uniform, ball or piece of equipment. Given its connection to Clemson and college football history, it is considered in category of stadium sold items such as seats, field dirt, grass, court boards, turnstiles and signs. Yet Howard’s Rock is far more unique and rare than a typical items from a stadium or arena. At each Clemson home game, Howard’s Rock has a starring role in the Clemson football pre-game routine, a good luck charm cherished by players and fans alike. It is a tangible and well known symbol of Clemson’s football success, so highly thought of that a replica will be on display at the College Hall of Fame. Howard’s Rock is a sports icon.
Therefore, to reiterate, Howard’s Rock scores high marks in the value criteria of historical importance, rarity, provenance and desirability in the marketplace.
Because of Howard’s Rock’s deep connection to Clemson and college football fans (and opponents), it makes sense that a small piece of Howard’s Rock (for which there is a relatively small and finite supply) is valued from beyond the high end of the manufactured good luck charms, and at least in the mid to beyond the top range of the Clemson offered new items, of which there is an endless supply, thousands of items available instantly.
As there is a much smaller and more finite supply of pro and college stadium seats and pieces of flooring, it is reasonable to determine that the market for small pieces of Howard’s Rock is similar to these items, from $100-$400 each, depending on size and quantity.
The appraiser is taking into consideration, given the 157,600 potential Clemson alumni customers, that the demand would be far more significant than the supply. As the sales of new manufactured good luck charms and souvenirs are of an “infinite” supply as they can be continually replenished, there is only one portion of Howard’s Rock to be sold as one piece, five pieces, ten pieces or a larger number of small pieces.
Clemson University determined a total 84” cubic volume of the missing portion. It appears from the photos that the shape is slightly irregular, in the rough shape of a gold bar or brick. There was also a determination of the potential maximum number and size pieces into which the missing portion of rock may be cut.
Given the shape of the missing portion of the rock, it was also determined that cut pieces would need to be either in rectangular or square forms.
Please note that the numbers of pieces are approximate.
1) 1” Length x 1/4” Height x ¼” Depth = Approximately 1,344 Pieces x $100 = $134,400
2) 2” Length x ¼” Height x ¼” Depth = Approximately 672 Pieces x $200 = $134,400
3) 1” Length x 1” Height x ¼” Depth = Approximately 336 Pieces x $400 = $134,400
It is reasonable to conservatively value pieces of Howard’s Rock at a minimum of $100 each, given that the championship floor pieces range from $100-$300, bleacher sections and patches of grass sell for $150, seats sell for $300-$1,500 and pieces of bricks from $90-$130. Furthermore, an NCAA basketball court measures 94’ long x 50’ wide. Taking out the center court logo, that leaves approximately 4,000 cubic feet, which cut into 12” x 12” pieces equals approximately 4,000 pieces; 9” x 12” approximately 4,200 pieces and 6” x 6” equals approximately 8,000 individual pieces, three to five times the supply more than the highest number of pieces cut from the missing portion of Howard’s Rock.
Clemson officials have stated that the University has no intention of selling the remaining portion of Howard’s Rock. Therefore, this can create a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity similar to the sale of championship floor boards. While the floor boards represent a major achievement of one season, Howard’s Rock represents the consistent excellence and achievements of a program over a 48-year time span including a national championship, with lesser supply. Please note that this does not include sales costs such as cutting, packaging and marketing, as that is not a usually a factor in fair market valuation.
With 157,000 potential buyers, not including families of alumni, collectors and non-alumni Clemson fans, even figuring the most pieces at 1,344, the supply is less than 1% of the potential known purchasers. This also doesn’t take into account the several thousand new Clemson students matriculating each year. Also, if the pieces of rock were released in small quantities over time, it is possible that the price per piece could be higher.
Should the missing Howard’s Rock be cut into a small number of pieces, the value per piece would increase dramatically, as the supply would be that much smaller as compared to demand.
Given that mundane items from stadiums (laundry carts, equipment cases, signs, turnstiles, etc.) such as the Busch Stadium sold between $500-$3,000 in 2005, it is reasonable to expect that at least a handful of wealthy alumni would pay significantly more than the Busch Stadium items, to have a larger piece of Howard’s Rock to display, particularly knowing that they would never have a chance to purchase a piece of the remaining Howard’s Rock. These are estimated price ranges for the missing portion of Howard’s Rock cut into larger pieces:
20 Pieces @ $2,500-$3,000 each = $50,000-$60,000
10 Pieces @ $5,000-$6,000 each = $50,000-$60,000
5 Pieces @ $10,000-$15,000 each = $50,000-$75,000
Given that the UCLA Pauley Pavilion Center Court sold for $325,000 in 2011, where all the Wooden era championships played, signed by most of the participating players, it is reasonable to expect that the missing portion Howard’s Rock with its long history and connection to Clemson and college sports, would sell for at least a tenth to a fifth; and given the number of listed historically important and desirable college game used items that have sold in the $20,000-$65,000 range, it is reasonable to expect at least a range of $32,500-$65,000 for the sale of the entire missing piece of Howard’s Rock.
It is also possible that in an auction a bidding war of diehard Clemson alumni/fans/collectors could push the price far higher, as it is difficult to quantify passion or emotion.
After taking into consideration the factors detailed in this report, in this appraiser’s opinion the fair market value for the missing piece of Howard’s Rock is in the $32,500 - $134,400 range, depending on the method of sale.