After selling nearly 25,000 items at auction ranging from the rare and unique to just downright strange, Goldin Auctions may have uncovered its most unique item ever – and simultaneously divulged a little-known story in which two of the greatest athletes in modern times unknowingly crossed paths. It will be part of the company’s upcoming auction during the National Sports Collector’s Convention on August 4 in Atlantic City, NJ.
The item for sale is the purchase agreement from a house in Overbrook Section of Philadelphia, dated April 27, 1973. John and Mildred Cox, the parents of Pamela Cox –the mother of Kobe Bryant — bought the split-level home for $67,000. But it is not the buyers of the house that make the document unique – the sellers of the house to the Cox family were Muhammad Ali and his former wife, Belinda. That’s right — Kobe Bryant’s grandparents bought Muhammad Ali’s home. It’s where Joe Bryant–Kobe’s father who played ball in Europe–brought his family during the off-season during the 1980s and early 90s. Kobe spent a large part of his childhood at Ali’s former home.
“When I look out there, I don’t think about Ali and his kids,” Mildred Cox said during an interview with a Philadelphia newspaper in 2000. “I think of Kobe and everyone else. They spent many enjoyable days there.”
Up for auction is the simple two-page purchase agreement for the house. The contract is signed in blue ink by both Muhammad Ali and Belinda Ali. An additional lot being offered in a corresponding online auction offers a decorative wood bench with purple fabric that was in the house when the Cox family bought the home.
“I have read hundreds of books, articles and more about both Muhammad Ali and Kobe Bryant, but it was not until Mrs. Cox called me that I became aware of this story.” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “Aside from the historical significance of the item, it’s especially unique and rare as the document contains clear legible signatures from both The Champ and his wife Belinda.”
After living in the home for more than 40 years, Mrs. Cox has decided to sell the house and move to Las Vegas to be closer to her daughter and son-in-law (Pam and Joe Bryant) and grandkids.
While Ali and his family lived in Philadelphia for only a short time, the house is especially significant in Ali’s life as it was the home in which he began raising his family – his twin daughters Jamillah and Rasheda were both born during the time. In fact, a feature entitled “The Quiet Family Life of Muhammad Ali” appeared in the January 1971 issue of Ebony Magazine and includes numerous photos of Ali and his family in the house.