When a famous athlete or celebrity passes on, there is always a mad rush to pick up and/or sell cards on the secondary market. There are even collectors who will take full advantage of a situation to make more money than they ever could before that person’s death. I’ve seen it countless times in the past and with so much money to be made, it won’t stop anytime soon.
Although Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, is just 72 years of age, his body has been ravaged by the effects of Parkinson’s. In 2014, his public appearances became a rarity and rumors started floating around that he was near death when he was hospitalized in December while battling the flu. Although he made it to 2015, he is back in the hospital with failing health.
Muhammad Ali certified autographs on trading cards are not all that rare thanks to Leaf and Sportkings but they do still not come cheap. My guess is that the greatest of all-time will be dead within three months and those already mighty expensive cards will reach astronomical levels for the next 3-5 years, maybe even longer. Now is the time to pick up his certified autographs, fight-worn memorabilia and other items before the market ultimately makes a final adjustment and those few cards hit levels that some collectors will not be able to afford.
As for what Ali autograph I personally would love to take home, it would have to be 2000 Upper Deck Master Collection’s Ali releases for several reasons. For one, they have more history in the hobby than say Sportskings. Sure, Upper Deck suffered a major fall from grace but that’s another story. Another plus is the on-card autograph Upper Deck’s release included. Leaf released an entire product around ALI but when you get cards like THIS, Upper Deck’s classy, no frills approach works best.
As for a price, they too do not come cheap but one recently sold for $736 dollars and just happened to feature fight-worn robe and trunks. When the day does come that Muhammad Ali does pass on, I think that card in particular may become one of the greatest Ali cards of all-time. These Upper Deck cards, forgotten by many collectors are a true compliment to one of the greatest of all time, in any sport.