On this page, you will see many photos of Ali's autograph to compare to. It will be divided into sections. So, scroll through and hopefully you will find what you're looking for. I hope these pictures help you make a proper decision or authenticating your collection.
Ali through the years
Below you will see a timeline of Ali's autograph. It shows you how his signature has changed over time.
Original Cassius Clay
In this section, you will see more examples of "original" Cassius Clay signatures, or signatures while his name was still Cassius Clay (before March 6th, 1964). Due to the relative short time of his birth name in his professional career, original Cassius Clay signatures are highly sought after and command a premium. Due of their age, the signatures and what they are signed on can show some wear, which makes the best examples even more desired. As you will see, Cassius signed his name with a flourish and sometimes added an inscription such as a poem, a fight prediction, etc.
An example of a faded Clay signature.
"Some say that the greatest was Sugar Ray, but they have not seen Cassius Clay."
Here you will see more examples of Ali signatures from the 1960's after the name change. Ali would sometimes add the inscription "World Champion" for some lucky autograph seekers. It also appears that he was experimenting with different capital 'M's'.
Ali was suspended from boxing in 1967, and returned to the ring in late 1970. By this time, love him or hate him, Muhammad Ali was a household name. Wherever he went, people showed up to see him and plenty of them wanted to get his autograph. Here you will see some of those autographs.
Ali retired from boxing in 1979, only to return for two more fights in 1980 and 1981, both losses. After this, Ali hung up the gloves for good. He finished his professional career with 56 wins (37 by KO), and 5 losses. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson's, and by the late 80's it would show from time to time in his signature. It was during this time that Ali became an even more prolific signer, doing big shows, small events and even through-the-mail (TTM) autographs. From this point forward, you will find autographs, on many more collectible items than ever before, such as photos, magazines, gloves, etc.
It was probably in the early 90's that Ali hit his peak for autograph signing, but it declined greatly by the late 90's. This was due to his health issues and as time went on, it was more noticeable in his signature as it got smaller and less defined. There are still many more great signatures than not and many show pieces to be found for display.
By this time Ali was mostly done making public appearances. If you wanted something signed by him, most likely, you had to send it to one of the companies holding a private signing. Ali would still sign when he went out in public if he felt up to it but chances of an encounter like this was not favorable. Signatures from this time period, vary tremendously, ranging from good to not bad, compared to previous eras. In 2016, the world lost Ali, so these are the most recent examples of his signature possible.
Modern Cassius Clay and AKA Clay
Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali on March 6, 1964, after then Ali would rarely sign his 'Slave name'. The exception seemed to be on official documents that had his name as Cassius Clay (such as contracts), and on those items he usually signed 'Muhammad Ali AKA Cassius Clay'. At some point, he started to sign AKA Clay when asked, and even Cassius Clay individually. Below you will see some examples.
Uncommon M and A
In the late 1960's and into the 70's, Ali occasionally signed his name a little different. In this version of his signature he added more flourish and style to the capital M and / or A. It's easy to spot the difference and a great addition for your collection. Due to the relative scarcity of this style of signature, it usually commands a premium over a normal signature of the same time period, especially for the best examples.
At times Ali would add quotes along with his signature. These quotes could be Religious, Spiritual, or Boxing related. Some of the quotes are commonly found while others are somewhat harder to locate. As you will see, Ali would often add a little doodle or circle the quote. Here are some examples.
"Love is the net where hearts are caught like fish"
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth"
You will find a few variations of this quote.
"Enjoy life, it's later than you think"
"Serve God, He is the Goal"
"After me there will never be another"
"King of the ring"
Ali would occasionally replace ring with world or boxing, sometimes even replacing the words with a drawing.
"Three time Heavyweight Champion..."