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Three 1974 Muhammad Ali/George Foreman Onsite Fight Posters
Starting Bid - $3,000, Sold For - $10,665
Collection of three identical onsite posters from the heavyweight title bout between champion George Foreman and Muhammad Ali, famously known as "The Rumble in the Jungle," held on October 30, 1974, in Kinshasa, Zaire. This is an extremely rare fight poster, seldom seen at public auction, making this lot of three posters an unprecedented offering. These three posters, along with the two other Ali/Forman onsite fight posters and related stickers in this auction, all originate from the same consignor, a gentleman who was born and raised in Zaire (formerly the Belgium Congo; his family came from Belgium). At the time of the fight our consignor was a chef at the Hotel Inter-Continental Kinshasa, where Foreman resided while training and where Ali was a frequent visitor. Because he was a boxing fan and one of the youngest chefs at the hotel, a member of President Mobutu's public relations staff gave him the posters and stickers as a gift. (As he recalls, since President Mobutu was part owner of the hotel, both he and his public relations team spent a great deal of time at the hotel during the time leading up to the fight. It was at that time that he became friendly with members of Mobutu's staff, who then gave him the posters and stickers as mementoes of the event.) As such, none of the posters has ever been displayed publicly and have remained in his possession since that time, where they have been stored with great care.
The three posters offered here, each measuring an impressive 46 x 75 inches, are all identical and picture portraits of Ali, Foreman, and Mobutu Sese Seko (President of Zaire) set against the shape of Zaire. An interesting aspect of these posters is the date change displayed along the center of each piece. This fight was originally scheduled for September of that year; however, an injury to Foreman resulted in a one-month postponement. That change is reflected in the fact that the original date has been covered by a piece of green tape (matching the color of the background), with the new date "30 Octobre 1974" painted in black upon it. Obviously, that was a much more economical alternative for the promoters than issuing new posters. Because Kinshasa was a Belgian colony until 1960, the poster is printed in French, with the headline reading "Zaire 74/Ali et Foreman Font Confiance A Mobutu" (Translation: Ali and Foreman trust Mobutu). Printed along the base of the poster is "Vous Aussi Faites Comme Eux, Ayez/Confiance En Mobutu" (Translation: So do like them, have confidence in Mobutu).
These posters represent one of two different styles produced for the fight, both of which are exceedingly rare. It is believed that there are fewer than ten examples known of this particular poster, with few, if any, of those others comparing favorably to these three in terms of condition. All of the posters display vertical and horizontal folds (as issued) and are exceptional in their appearance. The finest poster in this group displays only minor edge wear and a tiny tear along one of the intersecting folds; it is otherwise in Near Mint condition. The second poster displays minor edge tears along all four borders and a few tiny surface wrinkles along the base; in Excellent condition overall. The third poster has a number of border tears, including a three-inch vertical tear extending into the central image area at both the top and bottom. There are a few small areas of paper loss near the bottom, as well as a few minor creases. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. This is an extraordinary offering of these rare posters and one that has considerable appeal both as an investment lot and for its considerable "break value." Total: 3 posters. Reserve $3,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $10,665
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