LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The gates of Michael Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch and one of the white gloves first unveiled in his 1983 “Billie Jean” video are going up for auction in a 2,000-item sale organized by the self-styled King of Pop.
Auctioneer Darren Julien said Wednesday that Jackson was sorting through thousands of personal items and his vast art collection from the abandoned Neverland Ranch and other places.
He said the five-day auction in Beverly Hills, scheduled for April 21-25, will be the first organized by Jackson, who has been living as a virtual recluse since his acquittal in 2005 on child sex abuse charges.
“He has never had one (an auction),” Julien said. “We have been working closely with him for five months and he is in complete control of this.”
Julien said a similar white glove once owned by Jackson fetched $35,000 at an auction in 2006 ago, while a pair of the singer’s white socks went for $15,000 in 2005.
But he declined to put an estimate on the large wrought iron gates with a heraldic crest that led to Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, near Santa Barbara in central California.
“We have not put an estimate on the gates yet. There is a lot of history there,” Julien said.
In its heyday, the 2,700-acre ranch included a zoo, a lake and an amusement park. It was also the place where prosecutors claimed Jackson had molested young boys during sleepovers.
Jackson has not lived there since his acquittal and narrowly averted a foreclosure sale in May. In November, he handed over the title of Neverland to a company made up of himself and the firm that holds the $24 million loan on the property. He has no permanent home currently.
The auction catalog alone will sell for $100 with a limited signed edition available for $500. A portion of the auction proceeds will go to the charity Musicares.
Jackson has been plagued with financial troubles in the past few years but Julien said the auction was not a forced sale. “This is something that Michael is doing of his own free will. He is not being forced into it,” Julien said.
Highlights of the collection will go on a tour expected to include London, Tokyo, New York, Dubai and Santiago.
The April sale at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by Julien’s Auctions (www.juliensauctions.com) will be broadcast on U.S. television and online by the Auction Network.
Editing by Cynthia Osterman