MACAU - An old, Spalding basketball signed by Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan fetched US$294,000 (S$383,000) at a "pop culture" auction of celebrity memorabilia, touted as the largest in Asia, in the gambling centre of Macau.
Up to 400 celebrity items were put on the auction block in Macau, including a Marilyn Monroe black lace bra, a pair of Captain Spock's prosthetic ears, Bruce Lee shoes, a Batman costume and Beatles memorabilia in a marathon, US$3.2 million sale that ended late on Saturday evening.
Bidding was mixed at times, but picked up substantially for memorabilia linked to the late King of Pop. The basketball - used in the 1992 music video "Jam" - saw ferocious raising of paddles before an American online bidder finally snared it for US$294,000, smashing the ball's modest pre-sale estimate of US$600.
Another star lot, a black Michael Jackson glove and arm brace fetched US$216,000, while a BAD era "Beat It" jacket was hammered off for US$156,000, more than 19 times its pre-sale estimate.
An earlier sale in June, on the first anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, also saw strong demand for the pop icon's former possessions including a Swarovski-crystal-studded glove he wore on his 1984 Victory Tour that made US$219,400.
Other highlights of the Macau sale, intended to tap into Asia's growing affluence and infatuation with pop culture, included Michael Keaton's costume in "Batman Returns" that sold for US$43,750 and a burgundy, velvet ball gown worn by Princess Diana, bought by a museum in South America for US$114,000.
Martial arts master Bruce Lee's yellow adidas sneakers worn in his last, unfinished movie, "Game of Death", fetched US$12,500, while a stunt double costume for the same movie sold for US$18,750.
The sale, put on by U.S.-based Julien's Auctions, which specialises in Hollywood and music industry memorabilia, was held at Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho's casino resort Ponte 16.