Michael Jackson died on Thursday, June 25, 2009. Did you know there was an auction containing many Michael Jackson items that closed at midnight that very same day? Do you think his death might have bumped up the last-minute bidding considerably? Let’s look at the auction and some of its more notable results.
The auction was called Julien’s Summer Sale, and it originated from the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. It featured hundreds of Hollywood and entertainment collectibles, including about three dozen Elvis items and about a dozen Michael Jackson goodies.
I have been following the auction website for the past two weeks, mostly because I was mad about some of the Elvis stuff they were offering. Most of the items were provided by Dr. Nick (Dr. George C. Nichopoulos), Elvis’ personal physician at the time of his death. I just thought it was in very bad taste for him to be selling nine bottles and vials of Elvis’ 1977 prescriptions, particularly in light of his questionable control over Elvis’ medicines toward the end of Elvis’ life.
At least there were no bottles of narcotic or addictive items for sale. Do you think they mighy have disappeared from Dr. Nicks’ case early on August 16, 1777? His empty case brought in a $16,000 top bid. Pretty sick, if you ask me.
I have never liked Dr. Nick, as is evident in my May 2007 ElvisBolg article titled “Dr. Nick’s Memories of Elvis.” I was especially hoping one item in the new auction would get no bids. It is a framed collage of 1981 newspaper headlines saying, “Dr. Nick Found Not Guilty.” This referred to the decision by the State of Tennessee clearing him of any wrongdoing in Elvis’ death. Elvis never saw these headlines, so there is no direct connection to Elvis, but some damn fool paid $648 for it.
Anyway, the Michael Jackson items in this auction were pretty interesting. There were his hand-written lyrics for the hit song “Bad.” The original estimate was $500-700, but the high bid was $13,440. What do you think it would have gone for if Michael hadn’t died the day of the bidding? Another example is the costume shirt from the Jacksons’ Victory Tour in 1984. It had what seems like a ridiculously low estimate of $1000-1500, because one side is covered in small pearls and the other side is a combination of pearls and Swarovski crystal.
It sold for $52,500, which seems entirely appropriate.
I have two favorite Michael Jackson items. One is a painting he did of Mickey Mouse – a double dose of icons. It also had an estimate of $1000-1500, but it went for $25,000. The other is a signed concert poster from his September 7, 2001 performance at Madison Square garden. With that great picture and Michael’s autograph, I can’t imagine why it did not bring much more than $3520.
There were some notable Elvis items, too, and, as always, the big sellers are his jewelry and clothes. There were two rings Elvis had given to Dr. Nick: one with a green, cat’s eye stone for $28,125, and one with a large lapis stone for $33,770
The top Elvis clothing item was a shirt Elvis gave to his buddy Charlie Hodge after wearing it on stage in the mid-70s. Charlie is gone now, so I guess his estate is sharing a few Elvis mementos with the fans. It is ivory colored silk with gold, silver and black sequins. The estimate was stupidly low at $4-6,000, but the winning bid was $38,750.
And, the big Elvis item winner was a TCB necklace Elvis gave to Dr. Nick many years ago. Elvis gave away lots of TCB pendants, but most were just gold. This one is covered with thirty-two full-cut round diamonds. It was estimated to go in the same $20-40,000 range as the two rings, but it brought in $117,000
So, in answer to the question posed in the title of this article, Michael Jackson probably did win the auction – or, at least, the Michael Jackson collectibles probably outperformed the Elvis items. However, if the auction had closed one day earlier, we can safely say Elvis would have won in a slam dunk.
There has been a doctor at the center of the Michael Jackson affair. I certainly hope his medical case and a bunch of Jackson’s pill bottles don’t show up in an auction a few years from now. We’ve already had more than enough comparisons of Michael Jackson and Elvis.
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