'Thriller' on the auction block: Our Top Five Michael Jackson collectibles

Incredibly, it is almost three decades since Michael Jackson's sixth studio album, Thriller, was released in 1982. It subsequently became the biggest-selling album of all time and cemented Jackson's reputation as an international superstar.

Today, Thriller's estimated total sales stand at somewhere between 65-110 million copies worldwide. As Jackson biographer J Randy Taraborrelli noted: "At some point, Thriller stopped selling like a leisure item - like a magazine - and started selling like a household staple."

More than one year after his death, Jackson still remains a staple in people's homes, including those of wealthy collectors. In fact, so popular is Jackon's legacy on the world's auction blocks that he is today the world's top-earning dead celebrity, with posthumous earnings exceeding $1bn.

Jackson's memorabilia items have sold for huge amounts everywhere from New York to Macau. Next month, for instance, Julien's Auctions in New York will auction one of Jackson's iconic Swarovski crystal-covered gloves from his Bad Tour.

The piece of Jackson's history is estimated at $30,000, and is only the latest in his memorabilia items to appear at auction priced at tens - or hundreds - or thousands of dollars. Here are some of our recent highlights from the markets...

5. Michael Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley's wedding certificate, sold for $70,800

In November 2009, we reported on the $60,000 sale of Michael Jackson's Beat It lyrics which marked his posthumous ascent into the "autographs big league" in terms of value - up there with the likes of King Henry VIII and Neil Armstrong. Yet just a few months later, this piece sold for even more...

This is the original marriage certificate from the wedding of pop legend Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley which took place on May 26, 1994, in the Dominican Republic.

A wedding to rival Prince William and Kate Middleton's: this certificate from Jackson and Lisa-Marie Presley's wedding sold for $70,800 last year


Billed as "one of the most important celebrity documents of the 20th century - up there with the wedding licenses of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio - the certificate was sold for $70,000 by Philip Weiss Auction.

4. Jackson's Mercedes 500 SEL, sold for $104,550

Although he was more likely seen Moonwalking than driving, Jackson did occasionally get behind the wheel of a car. His vehicle of choice was a black 1985 Mercedes, later among the singer's memorabilia which went under the hammer in New York, November of last year.

The Mercedes, used by the singer to drive around his Neverland ranch, auctioned alongside more than 80 items related to the singer, and was eventually snatched up by collector and fan Charlie Moore for $104,550. Moore happens to own the Hollywood Star Cars Museum.

Michael Jackson's 1985 Mercedes 500 SEL, used to drive around in Neverland

3. His iconic black diamond-studded glove from 1995, sold for $216,000

A black glove and arm brace, worn by the King of Pop in 1995 (shown in the top picture), took Macau's Ponte 16 casino by storm in October. The iconic bejewelled accessories went to auction estimated at $50,000, but eventually Moonwalked to a final price of $216,000 including buyer's premium.

Jackson had worn many studded and bejewelled gloves throughout his career - and Julien's sale of the Swarovski crystal-covered glove on December 3, estimated at $30,000, is only the latest.

2. Andy Warhol's Michael Jackson portrait, sold for $1m

Once upon a time, you knew when you'd officially been elevated to "icon" status because the King of Pop Art himself, Andy Warhol, made a portrait of you. Interestingly, Andy Warhol's five Michael Jackson portraits were never among his most popular works prior to Jackson's last year death.

When great minds meet... An Andy
Warhol portrait of Jackson sold for
more than $1m, a month after the
singer's death, last year

One sold for $278,000 in May, 2009, while the singer was still alive, and another was left without a buyer. Following Jackson's death, the former Warhol Jackson brought slightly more than $1 million in New York, in August.

1. Jeff Koons's sculpture of Michael Jackson with Bubbles, worth $25m

Known for his reproductions of banal objects, American artist Jeff Koons's choice of subject matter was anything but banal when he chose to produce this unnerving sculpture of Jackson and his pet chimp, Bubbles.

The piece brought $5.6 million at Sotheby's in New York in May, 2001 - and the same gold and white sculpture could sell for $25m today, experts including New York art dealer Alberto Mugrabi have suggested.

Meanwhile, collectors concerned with the preservation of Bubbles's legacy can bid on a leather Bad-style costume custom made especially for the chimp, at Julien's December 3 auction. Proceeds from the sale of the piece, estimated at $2,000- 4,000, will benefit Bubbles's long term housing and care at the Centre for Great Apes in Wauchula, Florida.

And you don't need to be super rich to invest in Michael Jackson collectibles...

It may sound creepy, but there's a lot of money in celebrity hair, a tradition which actually dates back to Victoria times. Locks from the heads of Elvis Presley, John Lennon and others are selling for tens of thousands at auction.

Not surprisingly, Jackson's hair is out there for sale as well - including from his infamous Pepsi commercial accident when Jackson's hair was accidently set on fire during filming. Memorabilia website A Small Piece of History is selling a piece of hair from the accident for just £50 ($78), and its value is likely to significantly appreciate in future years...


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