$60k Beat It lyrics put Jackson in the autographs big league

Last Saturday's (November 21) Julien's Auctions sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York saw Michael Jackson autographs ascend to the big league, in terms of value.

Jackson signature sales exceeded or were easily among the big hitters in today's autograph market, which include George Washington ($32,818), King Henry VIII (selling between $29,500-40,000) and Neil Armstrong ($27,350).

The biggest selling Jackson autograph was linked to what many regard as his most important song. His handwritten and signed lyrics for the 1983 hit Beat It - the single which propelled the Thriller album to becoming the highest selling album of all time.

The lyrics to 1983's Beat It ($60,000)
The lyrics to 1983's Beat It ($60,000)

The pen-scrawled Beat It lyrics went under the hammer with an estimate of $2,000-4,000. The eventual selling price? A staggering $60,000.

Similarly smashing its estimate was a three-page handwritten letter from Jackson to William Pecchi Jr, a camera operator on Jackon's 1988 film Moonwalker, affectionately addressed as "Pecky".

The highly insightful letter discusses Michael's goals for the film, gives encouragement to Pecchi, reactions to conversations about racism and Jackson's vision of the world. Signed "love M.J." it smashed its $1,000-2,000, netting a massive $32,500.

Just behind it in terms of price was a signed What More Can I Give print on canvas signed by Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto and Michael Jackson.

It was originally given to attendees who purchased tickets to Michael Jackson's Once in a Lifetime Event held at Neverland Ranch on September 3, 2003. Originally estimated at $500-1,000, it sold for $27,500.

Also selling for $27,500 was Jackson's RIAA Platinum record award for Bad, commemorating more than 1m sales of the album. The framed disc display was later signed by Jackson - "All My Love Michael Jackson 1998" - to sell to raise money for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research.

Jackson's RIAA Platinum record award for Bad ($27,500)
Jackson's RIAA Platinum record award for Bad ($27,500)

Another item with remarkable provenance - and the rare piece of Jackson memorabilia to reference to more controversial periods of his life - was one page hand-written lyrics, pencil on lined paper by Jackson, entitled "T.S.".

The lyrics read in part, "They wanna get my ass dead or alive, invade my privacy/ They sure taken me by surprise [sic]." It is widely thought that the lyrics of this song refer to Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon, who led the child abuse investigation against Jackson. It sold for $17,920.

After the Beat It lyrics, the second most valuable autographed Jackson lot to sell was a signed poster for the single We Are the World, featuring a drawing by Elsie Simerman of musicians in the supergroup "USA for Africa".

USA for Africa featured Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Henry Belafonte, Cyndi Lauper, Dionne Warwick, and Bruce Springsteen - and the poster sold for $43,750.


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