Michael Jackson has proved yet again that he is the indubitable King of Pop. The jacket worn in his Thriller video sold for $1.8 million at Julien’s auction Sunday, a day after the second anniversary of the pop superstar’s death.
The winning price was exponentially above the estimated bid of $200,000 to $400,000. Part of the proceeds will go toward the Shambala Preserve where Jackson’s two Bengal tigers, Thriller and Sabu, have been living the past five years. It was designed by Deborah Landis, the wife of the Thriller director, John Landis. Jackson presented it to the vendors, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, his longtime costume designers. It sold to Milton Verret of Austin, Texas, who bid in person against about a dozen others from around the world.
The leather jacket is one of two Jackson wore during the filming of the 1983 Thriller video. Jackson wears the jacket in a scene with a troupe of zombies who rise from their graves and break into a dance routine. The other one, in scuffed condition, is owned by the Jackson estate. The jacket sold by Julien’s auction house in Beverly Hills is in better condition and is signed on the sleeve by the late singer.
The jacket wasn’t the only piece of history from the late King of Pop that was part of the auction. The signature fedora Jackson wore during his Bad Tour was sold for $16,250, a handwritten note to friend Elizabeth Taylor went for $5,625 and a signed pillowcase fetched $3,584, while a poster with Jackson’s handwritten lyrics to We Are the World sold for $270,000. And a bidder paid out $330,000, more than 10 times what Julien’s had expected to get, for one of the famous, shiny, crystal-covered gloves that Jackson wore during the 1980s.
Other pieces of history, from other members of music royalty, were also featured at the auction. While gold records and instruments were common items, others were more practical, like Frank Sinatra’s boots, selling for $2,500, and his 1986 Jaguar car, $19,000, as well as the U.S. Army-issued sewing kit of Elvis Presley’s that went for $1,536.
The King of Pop’s closest competition at the auction was the Beatles, which had a number of items for sale. A signed postcard from Liverpool’s finest sold for $5,504 and Paul McCartney’s bass guitar fetched $14,080. But oft-diminished drummer Ringo may have gotten the last laugh, with the cape he wore in the movie Help! selling for $37,500, about five times the estimate.