The sale of the iconic red jacket came exactly two years after the King of Pop passed away.
This past weekend’s Julien’s auction in Beverly Hills, California, just might have been the most star-studded one in music history. The likes of the Beatles, Madonna and Elvis Presley, as well as Michael Jackson, had their memorabilia on offer. But it was MJ, once again, who stole the show.
That jacket from the “Thriller” video went for far more money than the estimation of between $200,000-$400,000. The cool $1.8 million splashed by the Texan gold trader Milton Verret not only proves what a stable industry gold is, but that he’s planning to do good by using the garment to raise money for children’s hospitals worldwide. And some of the proceeds will also benefit the Shambala Preserve, where Jackson’s two Bengal tigers, the aptly named Thriller and Sabu, have resided for the past five years. Verret bid in person against about 12 people from around the world.
Until the auction, the garment had been with Jackson’s longtime costume designers, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush. There is an inscription to them on the lining, and the sleeve is simply signed, “Love Michael Jackson.” The black and red calf leather jacket, with winged shoulders natch, was actually one of two used for the shoot (the other, which is in worse condition, is owned by the Jackson estate.) It was designed by Deborah Landis, the wife of “Thriller” director, John Landis.
But if you were one of the dozen who missed out on the jacket, there was more MJ to bid on. His fedora hat from the Bad Tour went for $16,250, a handwritten note to Elizabeth Taylor brought in $5,625 and a signed pillowcase netted $3,584. One bidder shelled out $330,000 — over 10 times the estimate — for one of those crystal-covered gloves that was Jackson’s trademark during the 1980s.
As for the other stars’ stuff, a signed postcard by the Beatles went for $5,504, Paul McCartney’s bass guitar strummed a not inconsiderable $14,080 and, incredibly, Ringo Starr’s cape that he donned in the movie Help! sold for $37,500, roughly five times the estimate.
Meanwhile, Frank Sinatra’s boots ($2,500) and 1986 Jaguar car ($19,000) netted a pretty penny while the U.S. Army-issued sewing kit of Elvis Presley’s made $1,536. Impressive figures for sure, but not thrilling enough to compete with Jackson’s jacket. (via CNN)