Treasures from Jackson’s last home go under hammer
by Michael Thurston
AFP Global Edition
Dec 18, 2011 02:16 EST
A bedroom mirror on which Michael Jackson scrawled a self-motivating message in the last months of his life sold for some $19,000, as the contents of his last home went under the hammer.
Fans of the King of Pop joined serious collectors at the Beverly Hills auction, which saw a shower bench on which Jackson drew a series of stick figures apparently dancing go for $4,480.
There was a burst of applause when a phone bidder won the auction for the mirror, part of an armoire, on which Jackson had written a message to motivate himself as he rehearsed in LA for a series of doomed comeback shows in London.
“Train, perfection, March, April, Full out (underlined) May” said the handwritten scrawl, in an apparent reference to the gradual escalation of pace in rehearsals for the “This is It” shows.
The armoire went for $18,750, more than twice its estimated price of $6,000-8,000 at the sale, by celebrity auctioneer Darren Julien, who handled the sale of the contents of Jackson’s Neverland ranch in 2008.
Overall the one-day auction made nearly $1 million, well in excess of the pre-sale estimate of $200,000-$400,000, according to an end-of auction statement by Julien’s.
The items come from the rented six-bedroom mansion in the plush Holmby Hills district of LA, where Jackson died on June 25, 2009 of an overdose of anesthetic propofol, taken to help him battle insomnia.
His personal doctor Conrad Murray, hired for $150,000 a month to care for the singer during the London shows, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month and sentenced to the maximum four years in prison.
The contents of 100 North Carolwood Drive mansion are being sold at auction by the owners of the home rented to Jackson.
But several items have drawn attention from Jackson fans, including the mirror, shower bench and an ornament with a chalkboard on which one of his children had scrawled: “Love daddy, I (heart) you daddy, Smile, it’s for Free.”
The ornament went for $5,000 on Saturday.
For fans, the auction triggered mixed feelings.
“I’ve followed him for many years … I’ve always loved his style, anything about him made me happy, so that’s why I came today,” said Satya Vanii, a 28-year-old actress living in LA but originally from Kuwait.
“It’s kind of weird because he’s gone, and it’s mixed feelings, but it would be nice to have something that I can keep that he had in his house,” she told AFP as the auction got underway.
Actor John Tobin, who played Humphrey Bogart’s double in a video sequence part “This is It” — the movie released after Jackson’s death, including rehearsal footage — said the memory still stirs up strong feelings.
“I was surprised at how emotional I got when I got here, I was very overwhelmed,” said the 56-year-old, calling the time he spent working with Jackson “my best acting job ever.”
Julien’s Auctions Irish-born executive director Martin Noland said response to the auction had been astonishing,
“We have people from all over the world, we have people that flew in from Japan, from South America especially to be here for the auction,” he said.
One item withdrawn from the sale, announced last month, was the headboard of the bed in which Jackson died, after the Jackson family objected to selling what would have become morbid memorabilia of the late King of Pop.