Houston treasures snapped up at Hollywood auction

LOS ANGELES - Fans and collectors snapped up a selection of gowns, stage clothes and jewelry belonging to Whitney Houston at auction Saturday, weeks after the Grammy-winning star's shock death.

Prices reached more than five times their reserve on some items, including two pairs of earrings worn in the 1992 movie "The Bodyguard" for US$2,880 (S$3,620) (estimate US$600-800) and US$7,040 (estimate US$1,000-2,000).

The Houston effects were on offer on the first of a two-day "Hollywood Legends" sale at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills - just down the road from where the singer died on February 11 aged 48.

A stage-worn beaded bustier went under the hammer for US$19,200, more than three times its estimate of US$4,000-6,000, while a brown satin vest from "The Bodyguard" sold for US$3,520, (reserve price US$400-600).

A small wardrobe's worth of dresses were pounced on by eager buyers, including one gray velvet gown which sold for US$11,520, against an estimate of only US$1,000-2,000.

Houston died in her hotel room bathroom on the eve of the music industry's annual Grammys show in Los Angeles.

Coroners said on March 22 that she had died of drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors.

Other items sold Saturday included a Christopher Reeve costume from "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," estimated at US$20-30,000, which went for US$35,200.

A dress worn by Princess Diana in 1992 - a beaded pewter chiffon evening gown by designer Catherine Walker - sold for US$108,000, well above its US$60-80,000).

Treasures due to go under the hammer on Sunday include a bamboo cane owned by Charlie Chaplin, with a reserve price of US$20-30,000.

Clark Gable's riding jacket from "Gone With The Wind" is estimated to go for $10,000-$15,000, while Charlton Heston screen robe, staff and tablets from "The Ten Commandments" are also up for grabs.

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