Last Call

Own­ing a slice of a celeb’s life costs, but ar­dent col­lec­tors are pre­pared to pay, and pay dearly.

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up - John Connolly

For ar­dent col­lec­tors no price is too high for a slice of a celeb’s life.

JUST say you wake up one morn­ing and de­cide you want to be Eva Peron. Not the real Eva Peron be­cause, well, Ar­gentina in the 1940s wasn’t the most fash­ion­able of places. No you want to look like Madonna Louise Cic­cone in the 1996 movie, Evita. As Janet Maslin noted in her re­view in the New York Times, “Madonna…play­ing a woman so fash­ion­able that even her cas­ket is well dressed … looks stun­ning” and “breaks the Guin­ness world record for the most cos­tume changes in a sin­gle movie”.

Dar­ren Julien and Martin Nolan, co-own­ers of Julien Auc­tions in Bev­erly Hills (where else) have the so­lu­tion to this press­ing First-World prob­lem. Next month they will auc­tion 30 of Madonna’s frocks from Evita. Around ten grand should get you a hot South Amer­i­can Peron-style out­fit.

Want a com­bi­na­tion of Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe and Madonna? The fa­mous Mar­i­lyn in­spired dress and stole Ms Cic­cone wore in her Ma­te­rial Girl video can be on your body for some­where north of $100,000. Norma Jeane Morten­son died in 1962 but, at the old clothes and arte­facts end of the auc­tion business, she ranks higher than many mod­ern celebs. For in­stance Dar­ren and Martin sold the green velour dress she wore in the 1954 trav­el­ogue try­ing to be a movie, River of No Re­turn, for $516,000. In June 2011, Mar­i­lyn’s sub­way blow-up white frock from the Seven Year Itch sold for $4.5 mil­lion. On the other hand for $150,000 you could have been wear­ing a Princess Diana gown or a John Len­non jacket for $250,000.

We all know you (and your clothes and per­sonal items) are more valu­able when you’re dead. Well, if you’re fa­mous that is. Think of all those dead celebs like Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. Vince only sold one of his paint­ings while he was alive. He got a whop­ping 400 francs. To­day he’d get at least $40 mil­lion for it. The Paris es­tab­lish­ment re­fused to show any of Paul Cezanne’s pic­tures while he was walk­ing around. He’s not dead 100 years and the Qatar royal fam­ily pay Greek ship­per George Em­biri­cos $150m for Paul’s pic­ture of two blokes play­ing cards.

But in the case of to­day’s celebs any­thing they have touched or has touched them has value. As Dar­ren Julien said when he sold Mar­i­lyn’s 1954 chest X-rays for $50,000: “They are the ul­ti­mate look into the legend”. A ra­di­ol­o­gist bought the X-rays to ex­hibit in his wait­ing room. Dar­ren sold her per­sonal phone book for nearly $100,000. While Mar­i­lyn was no Cezanne she wasn’t too bad with the brush. Her paint­ing of a rose that was ini­tially ded­i­cated to John Kennedy sold for $80,000. At the same auc­tion her panty­hose brought nearly $1000.

Michael Jack­son may have been a tad ec­cen­tric, but the fans can’t get enough of his old clothes. “Michael Jack­son worked with us for nine months to auc­tion his col­lec­tion and two weeks be­fore the auc­tion lawyers from his pro­duc­tion company stopped it,” Martin Nolan told me. “He can­celled on April 25, 2009, and died on June 25, 2009. It was the great­est auc­tion that never was. We sold the red jacket Michael wore in the video Thriller for $2m ex­actly two years after the King of Pop passed away.”

Con­tro­ver­sial Texas en­tre­pre­neur Mil­ton Ver­ret bid against six oth­ers for one of the two jack­ets that Mick wore in the video that changed mu­sic videos for­ever. Bet­ter known for his se­ri­ous car col­lec­tion, Milt takes the jacket and Thriller video around chil­dren’s hos­pi­tals to cheer up the sick kids. I hope he tells them what hap­pened to MJ. At the same auc­tion Dar­ren sold Mick’s Bad fe­dora hat for $17,250, a hand­writ­ten note to Liz Tay­lor for $6000 and a signed pil­low­case for $3800. The 41-year-old Ma­cau casino di­rec­tor, Hoff­man Ma, paid a to­tal of $450,000 for MJ’s first Moon­walk crys­tal-cov­ered glove. Dar­ren Julien, calls the glove “the Holy Grail of Michael Jack­son”. Hoff bought a to­tal of ten Jack­son pieces to dis­play at his casino in the Ponte 16 Re­sort Ho­tel. Who cares that the glove is cov­ered with rhine­stones and not crys­tals, and was made in Korea?

Two years later, Ste­fani Joanne An­gelina Ger­man­otta – you know her as Lady Gaga – bought 55 Michael Jack­son pieces from Dar­ren and Martin. She paid $200,000 for another rhine­stone glove. Clearly Ms Gaga likes the boys at Julien Auc­tions. In May they sold her a red 1990 Rolls-Royce Cor­niche III for $130,000. Street value is $15,000. But Ste­fani is no slouch in the smarts depart­ment. She con­trols 98 per cent of what she wears, mean­ing she doesn’t even have to die and her clothes are worth lots.

But to show you how wacko the world has be­come, to­day the stuff that has the most value are the trin­kets worn by un­real per­sons. Last year Julien Auc­tions sold Troika Brodsky’s The

Lord of the Rings col­lec­tion. Troika’s was the largest col­lec­tor of Ring mem­o­ra­bilia next to Peter Jack­son’s pri­vate hoard. Bilbo and Frodo Bag­gin’s sword went for $170,000.

Next month in New York Bon­hams will be sell­ing some of Christo­pher Lee’s props from the three parter. Bon­hams Kather­ine Schofield, ex­pects An­duril, the sword re­forged from Nar­sil, pre­sented to Aragorn in the fi­nal episode of The Lord of

the Rings, The Re­turn of the King, sell for up to $250,000. Chris Lee, who played the wizard Saru­man, is sell­ing his 1.8m metal staff stands, com­plete with resin crown and glass orb, for more than $150,000. I’m not sug­gest­ing any­thing but given Chris is now 92 I think there soon could be a sud­den uptick in value com­ing on th­ese items.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.