Muhammad Ali "Rookie Card" 1960 Hemmets Journal

Nick Dingler

The 1960 rookie card of MuhammadAli, once Cassius Clay, is an absolute gem. In total, there are 345 of these cards in the world and only 3 are autographed by Ali. It was originally produced by Swedan’s Hemmets Journal in 1960 and it was to honor the athletes in the RomeOlympics. For those who don’t know, Muhammad Ali, was an 18 year old BoxingOlympian for the U.S. at the time. He easily won all his fights that year defeating European, Zbigniew Pietrzykowski, in the finals. Now, he is known by many as the greatest boxer to ever live. There is only one PSA-10 card and 10PSA-9 cards in the world. Even the lower PSA-graded cards, such as PSA-5, are very limited in quantity with only 32 in existence. It is almost impossible to find a raw version of this card and receiving a high PSA grade. Especially since, the card is over 60 years old. The difference in condition between a 10and 4 are harder to spot than you think. A lower grade most of the time comes from when there are imperfections or flaws on the card even if it is from the manufacturer.Rally is currently offering shares for this card for around $3 per share with a market cap of about $70k. This could be a great way to own this grail without the commitment of purchasing at full price. Rally facilitates investing fractionally in collectibles. They take care of storage and essentially anything beside paying for the shares. With around 23,000 shares, you can buy as many or as little as you want and can connect with others who own shares of the same card.

So, what is this card selling for these days? A PSA-9 version of the card sold at auction for around $100,000.The minimum set bid was set at $35,000 and it was sold after 12 bids.  After checking out Ebay, I noticed that even the lower grades are being sold for fairly high. This year, a PSA-5 was sold for $7.099, a PSA-4 for $5,508/$4,938/$5,700, a PSA-3 for $2,225, a PSA-2 for$3,299 & $3,050, and PSA-1.5 for $3,000. So, there is still a market even if this card has a low grade. But as I mentioned before there isn’t a tremendous difference between a lower and higher graded version of this card.Per the PSA website, a PSA-5 is worth $6,000, PSA-6 at $9,500, PSA-7 at $18,500, PSA-9at $100,00+, and the PSA-10 at an incredible $250,000. If you haven’t had the chance, to browse Ebay for the current prices, here it is. The highest priced1960 Muhammad Ali on EBay is currently $89,495 for a PSA-6. The seller is accepting offers but the price is the “Buy Now” price. This grail is so special that shipping for this item is $200. You can also go for the cheaper, PSA-5, option for $12,900. There are also quite a few PSA-2, PSA-1.5, and PSA-1 cards for around $3,000-$5,000. Since this card was a cutout from the Hemmets Journal, there are versions that are not cut as well and will not even receive a grade, instead, they will be authenticated by PSA. Fun fact, the cut-outs were never meant to be cut into cards. There were originally four other athletes on the page: John Ljunggren, Wilma Rudolph, and Harald Nielsen. Muhammad Ali was featured on the bottom-left side of the page. On the back, you can find a biography of each athlete written in Swedish. Since, there is a binder hole punched into the original page, it is tricky to cut the card with enough white border on all four sides. Therefore, there are so few in perfect, trading card-like condition. If you find an original, you will have to sacrifice the other three athletes on the page to get the best cut of the Muhammad Ali card.

I think this card will pass the test of time. Muhammad Ali was the best boxer of all time and sadly passed away on June 3rd, 2016. Ali was a 56-5 record U.S.Olympic champion with 37 knockouts and the best boxing I have personally ever seen. His famous “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” has become a legendary quote for millions and it describes his ferocious punches but swift and nimble movement which made him virtually impossible to hit. The great “IronMike” Tyson said, “Most likely I would win the fantasy, but I wouldn’t win the real fight. Ali’s the greatest there’s ever been.” It is highly unlikely we will ever see boxing talent like Ali’s ever again. Overtime, the population of the card will also decrease. It is unlikely but there is a chance that a few high graded ones are even lost. This will mostly effect the raw cards since they can get damaged or lost as the years pass. But, if the population of the cards decreases, the value of the card will increase. Ali has the second most features on the cover of Sports’ Illustrated behind Michael Jordan. If you still need more peace of mind when deciding if his collectibles are worth it or not, wait until you hear this. In his legendary fight with Sonny Liston, his gloves earned more than Ali did. Ali earned $630,000 for that fight and 50 years later the gloves he wore sold for $836,000.

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Nick Dingler
Die Hard Creator & Collector