Some of the Nation of Islam documents being auctioned. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Nation of Islam ring, hat fetch high prices but documents pulled from auction

(RNS) A diamond-encrusted gold ring worn by Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad sold for $5,250. His signature kofia, or hat, went for $32,500.

But documents from the early years of the religious group, assigned a minimum bid of $250,000, were pulled from an auction last week after their ownership was challenged, the Dallas auction house overseeing the sale said Monday (May 15).

The family of Burnsteen Sharrieff Muhammad, who served as secretary for Nation of Islam co-founder W.D. Fard, had guaranteed ownership of the ring, kofia and documents — 29 boxes of sermon notes and lesson plans from the first four decades of the religious group.

On the right, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad wearing a kofia in a 1965 FBI monograph. A kofia that is similar in style was recently auctioned. Muhammad image courtesy of Creative Commons. Kofia image, left, courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com

Heritage Auctions said in a statement that it received notice of a challenge to the title of the document collection, so "the consignment was withdrawn ... pending a satisfactory resolution.”

Such challenges are "rather uncommon," said Eric Bradley, head of public relations for Heritage Auctions.

Auction house rules prevented him from disclosing the identity of the challenger. And he said the buyer of the ring and the buyer of the kofia each wanted to remain anonymous.

The Nation of Islam did not immediately respond to inquiries about the auction from RNS.

Muhammad's 14-karat yellow gold ring — bearing the Nation of Islam star-and-crescent symbol and encrusted with 11 diamonds — went for more than five times its minimum bid on Saturday, which was $1,000. The kofia went for more than three times its minimum bid of  $10,000.

Elijah Muhammad’s 14-karat yellow gold ring with the Nation of Islam symbol was recently auctioned. Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com

"We were very pleased to see both Mr. Muhammad's ring and kofia perform so well at auction. It speaks to his enduring legacy and his impact in the Muslim American community," Bradley said.

The Nation of Islam today is far smaller than the mid-20th-century organization that attracted thousands of African-Americans with its message of self-sufficiency and piety, its mistrust of the white establishment and its call for black separatism.

Then the dominant stream of Islam in America, it no longer is. Today, most mainstream adherents of Islam in the U.S. and abroad consider many of the Nation of Islam’s beliefs heretical.

The Nation of Islam’s two most famous converts, boxer Muhammad Ali and civil rights leader Malcolm X, both eventually broke with the organization.

Its prominence grew somewhat in the mid-1990s, especially after its sponsorship of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995. The Nation’s leader, Louis Farrakhan, 84, is considered controversial for his anti-Semitic and homophobic sermons, his claims to have visited outer space, and false assertions that vaccines cause autism and that 9/11 “was an inside job.”

Comments

  1. Minister Farrakhan never claimed to have visited outer space, and MANY scientists and others agree that 9/11 was an inside job. And there is nothing “homophobic” about echoing God’s Stated position on that unnatural, deviant behavioral choice called homosexuality. You sound a bit warped.

  2. You might share links to the publications of ‘scientists’ who believe, against all evidence, that 9/11 was an inside job.

  3. Admittedly, it’s a really cool hat.

  4. And by the way, there has been ZERO credible “evidence” that 9/11 was not an inside job. On the contrary, ALL the facts point to the inside nature of that false flag (one of many historical) operation.

  5. Nice Job Ms Lauren. I will add a bit. If someone denies the divinity of Jesus, that he was God incarnate who walked the earth and that his death was the final atonement for all sin, the person who denies these things is clearly not a Christian. It is not, “we consider” the Nation of Islam to hold heretical beliefs. They don’t believe in Islam. They believe in a spaceship that will one day destroy the white man. They hate Jews and whites as a theological matter. They are more Nazi than Muslim. They have taken on a facade of Islam because if they were honest and said they are nothing but a sorry imitation of white Nazis, they would be laughed out of the park. So they lie, just like Jehovah Witnesses lie when they come to your door and say they are Christian. It is not interpretation, but a question of basic definition. The NOI is a registered hate group. Elijah, during his marriage to Clara, had TEN children out of wedlock….don’t seem to “honorable” to me. The NOI is Muslim the exact same way the KKK is Christian. They do burn crosses don’t they? Please be fair. Hateful people who lie on any religion are hateful liars….be they Muslim or Christian, they should be treated the same.

  6. Is there something wrong with the claim that you are so weak-minded you can only imitate white Nazis?

  7. There are many variations of Islam, just as there are many kinds of Christianity. Would you consider the Latter Day Saints, who have an extraordinary mythology of “heretical” beliefs and ideas, to be Christian? Because they say they are. That’s all that matters. Same for the NOI. Pull your head out of your a$$ and read a book. Or two.

  8. The internet allows people to say any wrong stupid thing they want, without any censoring. I can only ask a couple of questions of you, since you think you are correcting me. Are you a Negro Nazi? Words have meanings and definitions. Do you know the Muslim definition of Muslim? Have you ever been to an actual mosque and not an NOI Temple? (forget the name change, it’s still a backwards place). There are not many “kinds” of Christianity. There are many sects. Islam has sects as well. But all share basic traits that make them Islamic, just like the different Christian churches have a common belief in Jesus. LDS? You mean the Mormons. No they are not Christian. You make my point by their example. Christians follow the Bible and have no other book. Is the sky blue? Or is the sky of many kinds? Please study what it means to belong to whatever faith you wish to discuss here and then come back when you know basic definitions. The NOI are liars. They are a hate group pretending to be Muslims. They are Negro Nazis, but if they were honest, the would not have the few they trick now. They are a registered hate group. You let me know when you read a book that actually gives you the definition of what a Muslim is and THEN reply to what I write… and y’all come back now. Ya here?”

  9. Mosque is not “masjid.”

    “Ya here?” #illiterate

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