Rare artworks by Muhammad Ali sell for almost $1 million at Bonhams auction

Sporting icon Muhammad Ali Credit: AP

Drawings by sporting legend Muhammad Ali have fetched almost $1 million at auction in New York.

A rare collection of artwork by the boxer went under the hammer at Bonhams on Tuesday.

One drawing went for more than 10 times its pre-sale estimate, selling for $425,312 (£312,231).

Sting Like a Bee was painted by Ali during the filming of Freedom Road in Mississippi in 1978. It was originally released in a limited edition of 500 in 1979 and was the only artwork on sale to include a complete Muhammad Ali poem.

It reads: "Ref! he did float like a butterfly and sting like a bee! Yes, if you were smart you run like me!"

Other works which fetched a high price tag include an artwork which appears to address his conversion to Islam, which sold for $24,062 (£17,664).

The sporting icon's father was a professional painter, and his son harboured a lifelong passion for the arts.

Ahead of the sale, Bonhams director of popular culture, Helen Hall, 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.

"This sale presents buyers with an incredibly rare opportunity to acquire unique and meaningful artwork made by 'The Greatest of All Time.'"

The works in the sale came from the personal collection of Hilton Brown, and represented the largest collection of Ali's artwork to ever be seen at auction.

Ali died aged 74 back in 2016 after suffering from septic shock.