Boxing collectibles are items linked to the combat sport where two opponents punch each other with gloved fists, with typical examples including memorabilia like gloves or clothing, autographs and manuscripts.
Like other sports memorabilia niches, boxing collectibles are generally attached to a particular fighter, sporting event or venue. They can range from autographs, match programmes and trading cards to match-worn shorts, used sporting equipment, or boxing gloves.
The sports memorabilia market has also become popular with investors, with high-end items viewed by many as low-risk, short-term alternative investments.
Value on the markets
According to the Fraser’s Rarities Index, compiled by Fraser’s Autographs, an undedicated signed photograph of Muhammad Ali rose in value from £175 in 1997 to £995 in 2009 – an increase in value of 468.6%.
Signed letters and documents
Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries auctioned three letters written by Ali at its sale held between 2nd-3rd October, 2009. They dated from immediately before, and soon after, his light heavyweight gold medal victory at the 1960 Olympics.
A letter written on August 1, 1960, sold for $17,925. It read, with spelling mistakes included:
"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… still hitting hard.”
Another letter, from October 18, 1961, brought $14,340. A third, from October 25, 1960, on a scrapbook page with a torn upper left corner, sold for $13,145.
Beverly Hills, California, auction house Julien’s Auctions sold a physical examination application signed by Muhammad Ali as Cassius Clay for $1,200 on October 29, 2005.
On 27 October 2005, a lot of four items autographed by Tyson were sold by Geppi’s Memorabilia Road Show. The lot included a pair of autographed boxing gloves and a typed letter signed by Tyson. The items sold for $1,700.
Autographed boxing gloves
1960's Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) Training Worn & Signed Gloves from his early career were originally released to the collecting public in a 1990 sale of the collection of Drew "Bundini” Brown, Ali’s assistant trainer.
They were later sold at Heritage Auction Galleries for $22,000 on April 23, 2010.
US online retailer Substance Collectibles lists a pair of Everlast boxing gloves, with the right glove signed by Ali, for $1,550 on its website.
A pair of boxing gloves signed by Tyson were sold for $657.25 by Heritage Auction Galleries in
May 2005. The gloves were obtained directly from Jose Ribalta, a fellow heavyweight contender and sparring partner of Tyson’s.
A Muhammad Ali fight-worn robe from his fight against Chuck Wepner on 24th March 1975 was sold for $30,000 (including Buyer’s Premium) through Important Sports Memorabilia and Cards on 10th December 2005.
Andy Warhol portrait
An Original Andy Warhol signed and numbered Silk Screen of Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali, Numbered 21/150 and “purchased from Andy Warhol by a New York Art Dealer” was sold for $32,250 by Showplace Antique + Design Center in its sale of 30th April, 2008.