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Michael Jackson is the legendary King of Pop, and remains such in a world filled with artists. Despite his untimely and devastating passing on June 25, 2009, his spirit is very much alive. The fans continue to celebrate and honor the star that has left such an indelible mark on the world. June 25 of this year marked the two-year anniversary of the star’s passing, and an auction took place which was highly-anticipated by many. Michael Jackson’s iconic jacket worn in his timeless “Thriller” video was sold at Julien’s Auctions for a record $1.8 million dollars.
In an exclusive new interview with Darren Julien, (the President and CEO of Julien’s Auctions), the spirit of the auction event is discussed, and Julien reveals what it was like to know Michael Jackson, and why the star is an important part of the history of the auction house.
Katrina-Kasey Wheeler: It is obvious that Michael Jackson is one of the most-loved entertainers in the world. What amount did you expect the “Thriller” jacket to be sold for? Previous reports indicated around $400,000. Are you at all surprised by the amount that the jacket sold for?
Darren Julien: We had no idea what it would sell for, but we anticipated it would be around $600,000-$800,000, since we sold one of his iconic gloves for $420,000. We figured the jacket was much more significant and should bring a higher price. As the auction drew closer, we started to have interest around the million dollar mark but we had no idea it would ever bring the staggering $1.8 million that it did. So yes, we were very pleasantly surprised that is achieved this price.
KKW: What other items in the Michael Jackson auction sold for high amounts? Are there any other items that sold for anywhere near the neighborhood of the “Thriller” jacket?
DJ: Julien’s Auctions holds all the world records for selling Michael Jackson items at the highest prices. The highest price paid for one of his items previously was his white glove from the Motown 25 Special. We sold it for $420,000. The next highest item was his “Bad” jacket that we sold for $271,000.
KKW: Apart from the “Thriller” jacket, are there any other items that generated a high amount of interest in the auction on June 26, 2011?
DJ: Yes there were many items that generated interest like the cape Ringo Star wore in “Help” and Frank Sinatra’s Jaguar.
KKW: Was there a high number of bidders for the “Thriller” jacket, or was the auction for the jacket mainly between two or three people?
DJ: We had over 12 people register to bid on the “Thriller” jacket, but only four people were bidding over the $500,000 point. Once it reached over $1 million, the bidding was down to two people, and both were in the room.
KKW: Are you pleased that the jacket was purchased by Milton Verret and that it will be displayed at Dell’s Children’s Hospital?
DJ: Yes, I am very pleased. I have known Milton for years and he has a heart of gold. He is very genuine and sincere that this jacket be used for benefiting and raising money for children’s charities. I am especially happy because this is what Michael would have wanted as well.
KKW: Did you ever have the opportunity to meet Mr. Michael Jackson, and if so, can you share the experience with our readers?
DJ: Yes, I met Michael on several occasions, but mostly talked with him on the phone. I first met Michael at an event with Quincy Jones. All my dealings with Michael were always very positive, and he had a sweet and gentle spirit about him. We are very grateful for all that he did for us, and will always be an important part of Julien’s history.
KKW: June 25, 2011 marked the two-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing. Fans celebrated his life in various ways. The entertainer has greatly influenced artists of every genre, and fans that aspire to greatness — even those outside of the music industry. How has Michael Jackson affected your life?
DJ: I grew up listening to his music, and like many others was drawn to the sincerity in his music and his voice. There has always been something special that set Michael apart from all other musicians. When Martin and I were contacted about clearing Neverland — and that Michael trusted us to handle this project — we were deeply honored. It was a surreal experience. We are not easily star-stuck as we deal with some of the biggest celebrities in the world, but Michael giving us the opportunity to work with him was a life-changing experience. We will always be deeply grateful and indebted to him for what he has done for us. Now, when I listen to his music, I feel an even deeper connection than before because of our personal experiences with him.
KKW: Was there any particular feeling/air at the auction on June 26? Were bidders excited about the items that were up for auction?
DJ: Yes, there was such high energy and excitement in the room. It was like the moment everyone had been waiting for, and we all knew something special was going to happen. I knew that there would be press, but I had no idea of the amount of camera crews that would show up for this event. The cameras, fans, and spectators all together made it one of the most historic auctions in history.
KKW: Is there anything that you would like to add, or make known to our readers, the fans of Michael Jackson in regard to the auction?
DJ: Just that we are very grateful to the fans for keeping Michael’s spirit and music alive. They are a very passionate and loving group, and they help us make our events 10 times more exciting because of their presence and support.
KKW: Will there be a future Michael Jackson auction and if so, when do you anticipate that it will take place?
DJ: Yes, we will have other auctions that will include items from Michael Jackson. We are planning some major projects in the future. Whatever we do in the future, we will always make sure that Michael’s legacy is preserved and that we never do anything against the wishes of the estate, Katherine or the children as they are the ultimate protectors of Michael Jackson.
For more information on Julien’s Auctions, please visit the official website: www.juliensauctions.com/.
Julien’s Auctions can be followed via Twitter at http://twitter.com/juliensauctions.