Michael Jackson auction canceled, exhibit continues

Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:32pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) - A huge auction of Michael Jackson memorabilia scheduled for next week was canceled on Tuesday and auctioneers agreed to return all the items to the singer.

Auctioneer Darren Julien told Reuters the cancellation of the planned April 22-25 sale was the result of an agreement with Jackson, who had filed a lawsuit in March demanding the return of certain items.

A public exhibit of the 1,400 lots which opened on Tuesday in Beverly Hills will continue until April 25.

"The auction isn't going to take place. We wanted to reach an agreement (with Jackson) and we have reached one today that is mutually acceptable and beneficial," Julien said.

Julien said all the items -- including a single crystal white glove worn in the singer's "Billie Jean" performances and the gates to his Neverland Ranch in California -- would be returned to Jackson when the exhibit closes.

Jackson's spokesman, Tohme R. Tohme, said in a joint statement with Julien the two groups "are pleased" with the agreement and that it "allows Michael Jackson to retain ownership of the Collection of Michael Jackson."

Julien signed agreements with Tohme and removed hundreds of items from Jackson's shuttered and sold Neverland Ranch for the sale, which was expected to fetch about $10 million.

It would have been the largest authorized auction of items associated with the self-styled King of Pop, who has been a virtual recluse since his 2005 acquittal on charges of molesting a young boy at Neverland.   Continued...

<p>Michael Jackson's marble and parcel-gilt chess set is displayed in Beverly Hills, California April 13, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>