The boxing gloves that Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) wore when he defeated Sonny Liston to win his first heavyweight title belt in 1964 sold for $836,500 on Saturday night as part of Heritage Auctions’ Sports Platinum Night Auction. The sale to an unidentified buyer took palce almost 50 years exactly from the day of the fight. The final price includes 19.5% Buyer’s premium.
“Given the attention these received from media and fans all over the world, and the spectacular price they achieved, it’s clear that Ali is just as loved and respected today as he’s ever been,” said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles for Heritage.
The fight was fearsome and controversial, but by the end of the sixth round, with Ali firmly in charge, Liston sat in his corner and spit out his mouth guard, becoming the first Heavyweight Champion since 1919 to quit on his stool.
“I’m the greatest!” Clay bellowed, as he held his arms aloft and flashed the shuffling footwork that would become his trademark. “I shook up the world!”
However, the highest price paid during the auction was for a Joe Jackson bat attributed to his rookie season of 1911, which sold for $956,000.
The bat is a signature model Hillerich & Bradsby that leading expert John Taube confirms to be “the only Joe Jackson bat in existence that is factory documented as being game used by Jackson during his Major League career.” According to Heritage “the factory sidewriting assigns use to the greatest rookie season in the Major League record books, the only one in history to conclude north of the fabled .400 mark”.
In all, the auction of more than 140 items netted $7.1 million.
Lou Gehrig’s 1931 passport, signed three times, sold for $262,900, the most ever paid for a passport of any kind according to passport-collector.com. Previously the record was $115.000 for a Marylin Monroe passport. Gehrig’s passport was used during a big league players’ tour of Japan.
A bat used by Derek Jeter in his first World Series back in 1996 brought $155,350. What was described as the ‘finest and most comprehensive collection of full Super Bowl tickets’ sold for $209,125 while a 1910 E98 “Set of 30” Ty Cobb card from the ‘Black Swamp Find’ graded SGC 98 (gem mint) brought a final realized price of $149,375 and the jersey worn by Phil Verchota of Team USA in the 1980 ‘Miracle on Ice’ gold medal game went for $35,850.