Two pieces of Muhammad Ali memorabilia, one with historic political significance, are up for bids on SCP Auctions. The auction, which ends on Saturday, includes Ali’s passport, which the United States government revoked, and a poem written and signed by “The Greatest.”
The passport, which Ali held from 1965-66, features three signatures and stamps from travels to Europe and Egypt. His name is printed as ‘Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. K-A Muhammad Ali.’
“There’s no shortage of Ali autographs in the market, but something as personal as his passport is truly one-of-a-kind,” SCP Auctions Vice President Brendan Wells told us. “Not only did it allow Ali to travel outside the U.S. for many of his famous fights, but this may have been his first government-issued ID after he officially changed his name. Ali converted to Islam in 1961 but went by Cassius Clay until March 1964. This passport has an issue date of July 15, 1965.”
Two stamps match up to a pair of title bouts fought in London. One stamp dates to a match against Henry Cooper in May 1966, which Ali won in four rounds after a TKO. Another stamp corresponds to an Aug. 1966 bout against Brian London, which Ali won in a third-round knockout.
Ali would fight again a month later in Germany, but it was his last international fight until December 1971. He was convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to five years in prison, and fined $10,000 after his petition for refusal of induction into the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector was denied.
As a result of the conviction, Ali’s passport was revoked in 1967. The passport spurred a Supreme Court case that Ali ultimately won in 1971 in Clay v. United States. It is also double-authenticated by Beckett and PSA.
“Ali’s autograph is among the most counterfeited in the hobby,” SCP’s Wells told us. “Having two certifications from two reputable authenticators for an important document such as a personal ID card only adds credibility to the item and gives future bidders/buyers more confidence in the piece.”
“The Night in the Coliseum”
The other item at auction is a poem titled ‘The Night in the Coliseum,’ written by a 20-year-old Ali in 1962, describing his TKO victory over Archie Moore. Ali signed and inscribed the poem with ‘Next Champ after Liston.’
The poem, graded a Mint 9 and authenticated by PSA, comes from the family of American screenwriter Budd Schulberg, who was friends with Ali. It reads:
“It was that night in the Coliseum
That’s when I annihilated him.
I x gave him a lot of sand,
The one they call “The old man.”
I had left jabs that fired like pistons
They were twice as rough as Liston’s.
The people cried “Stop the fight,
“Before Clay puts out the light.”
Some got mad, some lost their money,
But I was sweet as honey.
He was trying to [remain] the great Mr. Moore,
For he knew that Clay had predicted “four.”
I swept that old man clean out of the ring,
For a good new broom sweeps up [any] old thing,
Some say the greatest was [Sugar] Ray,
But they haven’t seen Cassius Clay.”
“The poem epitomizes Ali’s swagger and unwavering ambition to become The Greatest, Wells says. “He signed and inscribed it “Next Champ After Liston”, and he was right. Fifteen months after defeating Archie Moore in Nov. ’62 was Ali-Liston I, and we know what happened there.”
As of Thursday afternoon, bidding on the passport was approaching $50,000 while the poem was at $6,490.