How much would you pay for a jacket belonging to the King of Pop?
Perhaps you’d be more interested in being the proud new owner of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery collection or the original ruby slippers used in The Wizard Of Oz? Whatever the case, there are those out there who have been lucky enough to get their hands on these incredibly rare collectibles – collectibles that predictably come with a pretty high price tag.
Hundreds of items of pop cultural significance are sold at auction each year, with the gavel dropping at a variety of winning bids – an auction in January saw outfits worn by the K-Pop band BTS sell for $162,500, far in excess of the estimated sale price of $40,000. However, there are some items which stand out from the rest, having fetched multi-millions at auction when purchased by the winning collector.
The Personal Collection Of Audrey Hepburn
In 2017, a variety of personal items belonging to the late actress Audrey Hepburn were placed up for sale at Christie’s, London.
The collection was put on display in the weeks leading up to the all-important sale, with over 12,000 visitors descending on the auction house’s galleries to get a more intimate insight into the life of the star. No item within the collection went unsold, with the total amount raised exceeding $4,600,000 – more than seven times the estimate given by experts before the auction took place.
The real star of this sale was Hepburn’s personal annotated script for Breakfast At Tiffany’s, which sold for $811, 615 after being the subject of hot competition between two potential buyers – the winning buyer being, fittingly, New York jeweller Tiffany & Co.
Michael Jackson’s Velvet Jacket & Smooth Criminal Hat
Kim Kardashian has previously purchased not one, but two iconic items worn by Michael Jackson as gifts for her daughter, North.
The first of these was the velvet jacket that the King of Pop wore to Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday party in 1997 and to the Cannes Film Festival of the same year. Having paid $65,625 for the jacket, Kardashian then had its fit altered so that her daughter North could wear the jacket herself.
Having explained to her Instagram followers that her daughter is a huge fan of Michael Jackson, Kim went on to purchase a second piece of MJ memorabilia as a Christmas gift to North. This time, it was the white fedora that the star wore in the iconic Smooth Criminal music video, which cost Kim $56,250 when she purchased the hat at auction.
Michael Jordan’s Signed Nike Air Jordan 1s
This pair of signed red sneakers broke a world record when they went on sale in May 2020.
After fetching $560,000 at an auction at Sotheby’s, the shoes were officially declared the most expensive pair of sneakers ever sold at auction. One of just fifteen to twenty pairs of Nike Air Jordan 1s created especially for Michael Jordan himself, the shoes were purposely mismatched, one being a size 13 whilst the other was a 13.5.
Less than one year after the Sotheby’s auction, however, the shoes looked to be about to break their own record, as a similar pair turned up on eBay with an asking price of $1,000,000 – whether they sold or not, we still don’t know, but it’s clear that there’s a market for these rare collectible kicks.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Jewellery Collection
Just months after Elizabeth Taylor passed away in 2011, a collection of the actress’ jewellery went on sale at Christie’s in New York. Once the auction was complete, with every item sold, the total takings from the collection came to an incredible $116 million.
The lot’s standout item was the La Peregrina necklace, which sold for over $10 million alone after a hot bidding contest. It’s easy to see why those present at the auction were so keen to get their hands on the item – not only was this perhaps the most famous item within Elizabeth Taylor’s collection, but the La Peregrina pearl itself dates back to Spain in the 16th century.
Having received the pearl as a gift from fifth husband Richard Burton, Elizabeth had the pearl set within a Cartier necklace and surrounded by diamonds and rubies, with the necklace estimated to be worth around $3 million before bidding began.
The Ruby Slippers Featured In The Wizard Of Oz
A pair of shoes that carry as much intrigue as they do monetary value, the ruby slippers featured in The Wizard Of Oz have long been considered one of the most sought-out pieces of movie memorabilia in history. Of the multiple pairs of ruby slippers used within the film’s pre-production, rehearsal and shooting periods, it’s thought that only five have survived. Auctioned in 2000, one pair sold for $666,000 – a value that has almost certainly grown over the years.
However, the pair that has long been referred to as ‘the holy grail of movie memorabilia’ is Judy Garland’s personal pair of ruby slippers – and not just because of their silver screen history. The lead actress’ ruby slippers were on display at The Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota when they were stolen in 2005. Over a decade later, the shoes were recovered by the FBI during a 2018 undercover operation in Minneapolis and were later listed for sale by online auction house Moments In Time for a cool $6 million.
As of yet, it looks as though the slippers remain unsold. Perhaps their next owner is reading right now…