Michael Jackson’s Curious Personal Art Collection (Plus the Jackson 5’s First Recording Contract) Are Up for Auction

Emilee Geist

Forty-eight bronze sculptures and dozens of other items once owned by Michael Jackson are hitting the auction block this month, marking the first time the objects have come to market since a highly publicized auction of the King of Pop’s memorabilia was canceled in 2009. The online sale, hosted by Guernsey’s […]

Forty-eight bronze sculptures and dozens of other items once owned by Michael Jackson are hitting the auction block this month, marking the first time the objects have come to market since a highly publicized auction of the King of Pop’s memorabilia was canceled in 2009.

The online sale, hosted by Guernsey’s Auction House in New York, includes a gift from Elizabeth Taylor, Jackson 5 memorabilia, and numerous Peter Pan-themed artworks that decorated Jackson’s Neverland Ranch estate.

Bidding for the 80 total lots is open now, with the sale set to end on October 23.  

In April 2009, just months before Jackson’s death, Julien’s Auction House was planning a major sale of 1,400 of the pop star’s wares, such as the gates to his Neverland Ranch and a white crystal glove worn during performances of “Billie Jean.”

Antonin Mercié’, <i>Gloria Victis</i>. Courtesy of Guernsey’s.

Antonin Mercié’, Gloria Victis. Courtesy of Guernsey’s.

But the sale was halted after Jackson, who had previously given the auction house authority to sell the items, filed a lawsuit demanding his possessions back. 

The two parties reached a settlement out of court, which resulted in the cancelation of the auction but allowed for a corresponding exhibition in Beverly Hills to continue as planned.  

“We are very happy,” the auction house’s founder, Darren Julien, said at the time. “We are happy because he is happy.”

But not everyone shared the sentiment.

Richard LaPointe, a Quebec-based collector who had bid on over 170 lots in the auction—more than half of which he was winning when the sale was canceled—filed a $5 million lawsuit against Julien’s and the Jackson estate that fall, arguing that he had unfairly missed out on a multi-million dollar collection. 

An agreement was reached in 2011 requiring the estate to sell 64 of the objects to LaPointe. Reached by Artnet News, LaPointe said he was legally bound from disclosing details of the agreement.

The Jackson 5's first label contract, 1967. Courtesy of Guernsey’s.

The Jackson 5’s first label contract, 1967. Courtesy of Guernsey’s.

Earlier this year, LaPointe, who has also purchased Beatles-related memorabilia from Guernsey’s, reached out to the auction house to consign the entirety of his Michael Jackson  collection.  

“I’m very happy to let [the collection go] and make some new fans,” LaPointe told Artnet News.

A 99-inch tall bronze cast of Antonin Mercié’s 1874 sculpture, Gloria Victis, highlights the art offerings in Guernsey’s sale. Other casts of the artwork live in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It is estimated to go for between $75,000 and $85,000. 

Other sculptures of note include a bronze Peter Pan (expected to fetch $30,000 to $40,000) and a wooden model of Captain Hook’s ship (also estimated at $30,000 to $40,000), which was gifted to the singer by Elizabeth Taylor during a Christmas the two shared.

The Jackson 5’s first recording contract ($50,000 to $100,000) and a pressing of the group’s first singles ($10,000 to $20,000) are also included in the sale.

In 2019, Jackson was the subject of a widely discussed documentary, Leaving Neverland, detailing startling allegations of his abuse of young children.

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