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August 1, 1960 Cassius Clay Handwritten Letter....

2009 October Signature Sports Memorabilia Auction #716

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Auction Ended On: Oct 2, 2009
Item Activity: 10 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

August 1, 1960 Cassius Clay Handwritten Letter. Consigned directly by the addressee of the letters presented below, this spellbinding correspondence archive presents the young Muhammad Ali exactly as we like to remember him-brash, charismatic, confident and hilariously charming. We are afforded a rare insider's access into the future Heavyweight Champ's outlook on the approaching 1960 Olympic Games and his first professional bout on his inexorable journey toward boxing immortality. We have blurred the identity of Clay's friend at his request, but bidders can rest assured that the mailing envelopes are as clear and legible as the letters themselves.

It must be stressed that these letters are the only three ever to surface from Cassius Clay prior to his conversion to Islam and corresponding name change, offering the advanced Ali collector what is almost certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in his ascension to iconic status from a private perspective. As a prism through which the American public viewed race, religion and celebrity during the second half of the twentieth century, Muhammad Ali has assured himself a position in the pantheon in a manner unmatched in the sporting world. These fantastically scarce and special documents stand among his story's most desirable personal text.

"Hello Mel, I hope this letter finds you and your family well, I am here at Fort Dix getting ready for Rome, I am in the best of shape, I hope to soon be home with the world Championship soon, I am still hitting hard, Say look at here, We leave here on the 14 of august, so try to write me before then and send me Connie address will you, and try to get a picture of here, I stil dig her, so find here and let here know that I am still talking about here, get that picture man, 'please' I will send her and you a card from Rome Itly, Stay in training and you can't miss, tell all of the boys that I said hello, don't let me down about Connie, Your Fighting Friend, Cassius Clay, U.S. Champ."

Single page, original mailing folds otherwise EX-MT. Original mailing envelope postmarked "Fort Dix, NJ, Aug. 1 1960." Return address: "Cassius M. Clay [written, not signed], c/o Special Service, U.S. Olympic Boxing Team, Building 5434, Fort Dix, NJ."

Clay's Gold Medal performance in the Light Heavyweight division at the 1960 Rome Olympics is typically considered the opening salvo in one of the most storied careers in American sports. It would be the last great victory of Clay's amateur career, setting the stage for increasingly more lucrative bouts leading up to his historic 1964 first meeting with Sonny Liston, from whom he would claim the Heavyweight Championship belt.

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In 37 years of collecting, this was the most thorough and secure packing I've ever seen. I truly appreciate their diligence and attention to detail.
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