Michael’s famous white glove sold for $350,000 (£250,000) at a memorabilia auction at the Hard Rock Café in New York on Saturday, soaring far past pre-sale estimates, while a black jacket he wore during a 1989 world tour fetched $225,000 (£136,000).
The Michael memorabilia was the highlight of an auction of hundreds of rock ‘n’ roll items. Darren Julien, CEO of Julien’s Auctions, which ran the auction, called the glove “the Holy Grail of Michael Jackson.” Many expected it to sell for far more than its pre-sale estimate of about $50,000. With the added commission the final price excluding taxes ran to around $420,000.
The buyer was Hong Kong businessman Hoffman Ma on behalf of the Ponte 16 Resort Hotel in Macau.
Bidding for the black, strap and zipper-laden jacket Michael wore during the 1989 ‘Bad’ tour soared to $225,000, more than twenty times its estimate. With commission the total came to about $275,000. Added to this, handwritten lyrics of ‘Billie Jean’ were sold for $60.000.
Fans and dealers turned out at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York’s Times Square for the sale that included a car driven by Michael.
The glove, studded with Swarowski crystals, was worn by Michael when he first staged the famous moonwalk dance at the 1983 Motown 25 television special. The opening bid of $10,000 leaped immediately to $120,000 before peaking at $350,000.
Most of Michael’s eighty lots consisted of items that came from friends and family to whom he had given them, the auctioneer said.
Michael was somewhat of a collector himself, having paid more than $1.5 million for the ‘Gone With The Wind’ best picture Oscar statue at Sotheby’s auction, one of the highest prices ever paid for memorabilia at auction.
The auction house had valued its Michael collection at $80,000 to $100,000 but Julien said such pre-auction estimates were intentionally conservative to help generate interest. Many of the items sold for ten, even more than twenty times the estimates. Julien’s had been preparing for a huge auction of Michael’s memorabilia in April which was cancelled after Michael had filed a lawsuit demanding the return of certain items.
During the promotion for that sale Julien’s had amassed a large database of collectors of Michael’s memorabilia from Asia to the Americas, and many of the winning Internet bidders were from Japan and Hong Kong.