"Holy Grail" of Michael Jackson memorabilia up for sale
By Burton Frierson
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The "Holy Grail" of Michael Jackson memorabilia will go on the block on Saturday in an auction of one of the King of Pop's famous white gloves and hundreds of rock-and-roll relics.
The sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York includes a car driven by Jackson, David Bowie's guitar and a slew of memorabilia from the Beatles to Bo Diddley, according to Julien's Auctions, the company running the auction.
But Julien's has no doubt the white glove, worn by Jackson when he debuted the famous moonwalk dance at the 1983 Motown 25 television special, will generate the most interest.
"There is no question it is the Holy Grail of Michael Jackson," said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien's.
The auction company says it estimates the value of the glove conservatively at $40,000-$60,000 but expects it to sell for much higher.
"I have talked to more than 20 very interested serious clients all over the world who will be bidding on the piece and all have expressed interests over $200,000-$300,000," Julien said.
The majority of the 80 Jackson lots consist of items that come from friends and family he gave the items to, Julien said.
The auction company values the Jackson collection at $80,000 to $100,000 but Julien said its pre-auction estimates are intentionally very conservative to help generate interest.
Interest in Jackson was already running high before his sudden death in June, and has grown since, as evidenced by the box-office success of his concert film "This Is It."
Julien's had been preparing for a huge auction of Jackson memorabilia in April that was canceled after an agreement with Jackson, who had filed a lawsuit demanding the return of certain items.
During the promotion for that sale, Julien's had amassed a large database of Jackson collectors from Asia to the Americas.
Interest in the glove may come from wealthy individuals but could also include institutions such as museums, Julien said.
"That's one piece that you need, and you're going to have hundreds of thousands of people visit on an annual basis to view that one item," Julien added.
Collectors can also bid for an Elvis Presley ring, James Brown's suits and Kurt Cobain's finger prints, taken from the late Nirvana front man when he was arrested for trespassing while intoxicated in 1986 at the age of 19.
(Reporting by Burton Frierson; Editing by Patricia Reaney)