2023 February Finest Auction

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“The Greatest” visited numerous international destinations for some of his most famous fights, dominating bouts in places like Zaire and The Philippines. Presented here is the actual passport Muhammad Ali used from 1965-66, likely the first one issued to him following his conversion to Islam and new Muslim name. He signs the internal cover "Muhammad Ali," adding the Miami address he maintained as he trained at the Dundee family's 5th Street Gym on Miami Beach. Just below, he names his mother as his emergency contact back in his hometown of Louisville.

On the next page is a stunning two-page spread the upper page listing the owner as "Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. K-A Muhammad Ali" along with his birth date, physical traits and the date of passport issuance. Ali signs at lower left in 9/10 blue ink. The page below features a magnificent photograph (2.5" x 2.5") of the then 23-year-old icon, signed in 9/10 black ink, along with the first examples of the immigration stamping that continue on the pages that follow.

The date and location stamping allows the document to be matched to the following contests:

1) July 28, 1965 exhibition bout in Belize City, British Honduras against Cody Jones.

2) July 31, 1965 exhibition bouts in San Juan, Puerto Rico against Jimmy Ellis and Cody Jones.

3) August 16, 1965 exhibition bouts in Gothenburg, Sweden against Jimmy Ellis and Cody Jones.

4) August 20, 1965 exhibition bouts in London and Scotland against Jimmy Ellis and Cody Jones.

5) March 29, 1966 championship bout in London, England against Henry Cooper.

6) August 6, 1966 championship bout in London, England against Brian London.

There is also a May 24, 1966 stamp from Cairo, Egypt, which appears to be from Ali's second journey to Africa, a continent he deeply embraced as his dedication to civil rights grew, and which reciprocated his love (as his popular support during "The Rumble in the Jungle" demonstrated). This excursion happened between the Cooper and London bouts.

The passport exhibits the type of wear one would expect for its purpose, but no faults that could be accurately characterized as damage. As part of the appeal process for refusing Vietnam War conscription, Ali was forced to forfeit this very passport to federal authorities in 1967, who then returned it to him upon the Supreme Court's dismissal of his charges four years later. A remarkable piece that combines sports and cultural history and a must-have for any serious Ali collector. Full LOAs from PSA/DNA and Beckett Authentication Services for the autographs.

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