Thursday, October 22, 2009

What will the market bear for Michael Jackson material? Heritage Auctions is about to find out

Oct. 22, 2009
Posted by Noah

This is a crazy time of year at Heritage Auctions, with great auctions and amazing stuff everywhere you turn. Not that one auction carries more weight than another, but the Nov. 6-7 20th Century Icons Auction is about as sexy as they get.

It's got a JFK-signed Dallas Morning News morning edition front page from Nov. 22, 1963, the Fedora Jack Ruby wore when he shot Oswald, a rocking chair used by Martin Luther King, a Stevie Ray Vaughn used and signed guitar and much more than I can possibly list here. Really. Don't hate me, I'm just a busy guy...

What may well prove to be the sleeper of the auction is a gathering of just more than 40 lots of memorabilia relating to the late, great (and decidedly controversial) Michael Jackson. There are handwritten lyrics, jackets, autographs, awards and various other things that relate to all periods of MJ's illustrious career.

In the four months since he died, Michael Jackson has remained in the news steadily. Whether it's been sordid details, bad doctors, ex-wives, children, or the posthumously released music and the upcoming music documentary This Is It, it's been unending fascination. MJ remains more intriguing in death than in life, which is saying a lot.

On the Michael memorabilia side, we've seen a couple of his famous bejeweled gloves come up, very high profile to be sure. The Nov. 6-7 auction at Heritage Auctions, however, is notable and - dare I say it - probably more important for what it means to the wider world of MJ collecting. These are some very good items, certainly, but they are not five and six figure pieces of iconic costumes. These are lots priced to move, ranging from a few hundred bucks to a few thousand. There are scribblings of bible verses from a childhood notebook; there are sketches of his sister LaToya, lyrics to songs and autographed awards... It's actually a moving trove in a very human way...
While the prices are meant to move, I have a feeling the response is going to be much more than anticipated and that we'll see that even the most mundane MJ autograph is now going to be worth substantially more than it was a few months ago.

As a pop culture junkie, I can't wait to see what happens here. As for my personal opinion about Jackson sad and confusing life, I still feel about as I did when he died: He's the greatest mass entertainer ever, but still a weirdo. In truth, how could somebody with such fame and notoriety really be any different. We'll see...

To leave a comment, click on the title of this post.

-Noah Fleisher

1 comment: