Winter Premier Auction 2021


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 4/3/2021

More than any other sport figures, Muhammad Ali was as well known for his sparring with sports writers as he was for his prizefights. He and broadcaster Howard Cosell’s bickering routine lasted throughout Ali’s career and in the end led the duo to be referred to as “joined at the lip.” And while the Ali-Cosell show was his most visible media rivalry, Ali enjoyed many other jousts with countless sportswriters over the decades. One such bout occurred between legendary Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Times sports columnist Jim Murray. The occasion was a 1973 press conference during the run-up to the Muhammad Ali- Rudie Lubbers fight. While on the podium Ali publicly accused Murray of writing something “unfriendly” about him. After the press conference an angered Murray confronted the boxer in his room, betting Ali $100 he did not write the disparaging story. As Murray later wrote, “Ali lies on the bed with round-eyed innocence then quietly pulls the offending column out from under the covers. It was one written not the week before, as he had indicated, but years before. No matter. He rolls all over, roaring with laughter. He has set the scene up with a room full of his followers, some hiding behind the curtains. The next day, I mail him a check for the hundred bucks. A week later, a handwritten, 3-page letter arrives in the mail.” This is Ali’s 3-page letter.
“Dear Jim,  I have nothing to say Bad about anything you write, because burning words rise from a flaming heart, For life is a fair trade wherein all adjusts itself in time, for all you take from it, you must pay the price sooner or later, For some things you may pay in advance, for some you should pay on delivery, and for some later on when the Bill is presented, So Jim we should never feel guilty for speaking our true feelings, because a guilty conscience robs the will of its power.
I was really surprise to get such a letter from you, You have a good heart, Most people of White in your possession would not admit what you may call a fault of your own, because most people give way to their faults by being passive towards them, Jim a writer must think twice before he writes, because a biting tongue goes deeper than the point of a bayonet, and cutting words pierce keener than a sword.
Jim the way I overcame error is, first, to admit my fault, such as you did to me, next to refrain from repeating it, So that’s all I have to say for now, But we must always remember that forgiveness belongs to God, But it becomes the privilege of mortal man only when asked by another, Thank you  Oct 5-1973  Peace always  Muhammad Ali.”
Ali also enclosed Murray’s check un-cashed, writing, “Forget it my friend. It is impossible to be a human being and not make mistakes. Peace Oct 4-19-73 Thank You.”
The letter is composed on three sheets of Ali’s training camp letterhead complete with a classic 1970’s logo and image of The Champ. Written in bright blue ballpoint, the pages show slight edge wear with some rounding of the corners and horizontal folds from mailing. The full Ali signature is in perfect condition and is placed artfully around his portrait on the letterhead. The Ali Training Camp envelope and Murray’s returned check is included in this archive, complete with a more recent Ali signature in bold black marker. A tremendous Ali piece that demonstrates the boxer’s serious and humorous sides all at once.
Accompanied by a full LOA from PSA/DNA.

Estimate: $15,000+

Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $4,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $12,455
Number Bids: 11
Auction closed on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
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