Rare drawings by boxing great Muhammad Ali sell for nearly $1m

Rare drawings by boxing great Muhammad Ali sell for nearly $1m
Muhammad Ali is considered to be one of the world's greatest ever athletes. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: A rare collection of artwork, including sketches, paintings and drawings by champion boxer Muhammad Ali has sold at auction for nearly $1m.

Some 26 artworks of Muhammad Ali went to auction at Bonhams auction house in New York.

One of the most anticipated works, Sting Like a Bee, sold for $425,000, more than 10 times its pre-sale estimate.

Muhammad Ali is hailed as one of the greatest athletes of all time. He was also known as a poet and activist, but his artistic talents are less known.

Bonhams said the boxer painted and drew all his life – encouraged by his father who was a professional artist and eventually taking lessons from sports artist LeRoy Neiman.

Before the sale, Helen Hall, Bonhams Director of Popular Culture, said: “Muhammad Ali was a cultural icon who defined a generation. His artwork depicts those subjects close to his heart: Boxing, Civil Rights, Religion and World Peace and Humanitarianism.”

His sketches, paintings and drawings were put up for auction by friend and art collector Rodney Hilton Brown, who said the boxer drew his first three pictures for him after a fight in Boston in 1977.

The total sale price of $945,524 was three times more than had been expected.

Sting Like a Bee was painted in 1978 during the filming of Freedom Road in Mississippi and according to Bonhams, which is the only work to include a complete Muhammad Ali poem.

Meanwhile, a 1979 red, blue and white painting on canvas, with the words “I Love You America,” sold for $150,000, and Reuters news agency reports that a 1967 sketch in felt pen comparing Islam to Christianity sold for $24,000.

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