Michael Jackson’s leather jacket from his 1984 Pepsi commercial is to be auctioned off.
Propstore will be selling the custom-made black and white jacket and over 200 original pieces of music memorabilia on November 10 in one of the biggest ever sales of entertainment collectors’ items.
Bids on the late King of Pop’s garment – which has no size or manufacturer label – will start at £100,000, but estimates predict it will fetch between £200,000 and £400,000. For the advertisement filmed in New York City, Michael changed his 1983 hit single ‘Billie Jean’ to create a jingle referencing Pepsi’s ‘New Generation’ of customers, which co-starred a 12-year-old Alfonso Ribeiro before he found fame on ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’. Michael starred in the commercial with his brothers from the Jackson Five and they earned a reputed $5 million – a record fee at the time – from PepsiCo in 1983.
The jacket is being sold by Wendell Thompson who was gifted the item when he met the pop legend in 1980 aged 12. Thompson — whose father was Jackson’s hairdresser in Florida — was given the piece of pop history in December 1983 when he was visiting Orlando for the opening of the Michael Jackson room at the Hotel Royal Plaza, originally named The Royal Inn and now called B Resort Spa. Thompson’s auction lot also includes the original Polaroid photo of him receiving the jacket, a hand-signed photo from Jackson, ‘The Making of Thriller’ book, ‘Making Michael Jackson’s Thriller’ LaserDisc and Pepsi set pics.
When filming a second Pepsi commercial with his siblings, Michael’s hair caught fire after a pyrotechnics effect went wrong and he sustained second degree burns on his scalp. The incident has been attributed to the start of the ‘Man in the Mirror’ hitmaker’s painkiller addiction, a struggle that lasted up until his death on June 25, 2009 at the age of 50 from “acute Propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication”. Make-up artist Karen Faye – who worked with Jackson for 27 years – testified in a later court case: “I never saw anything like that in my life. This was someone I knew and he was on fire.
“All his hair was gone and there was smoke coming out of his head.” The memorabilia auction will also include items from other music legends including Amy Winehouse’s iconic beehive from the ‘You Know I’m No Good’ music video, and George Michael’s La Rocka jacket from ‘I knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’, on which he sang with Aretha Franklin. David Bowie’s original ‘Liza Jane’ single test pressing, and John Lennon’s belt buck from the ‘Lost Weekend’ period will also be available. (Contactmusic)
Announcing the sale, Mark Hochman – director of Music and Posters at Propstore – said: “Taking inspiration from last year’s highly successful music sale, we have strived to be bigger and better for 2023 and with incredible, unique content from rock and pop legends – John Lennon, The Beatles, David Bowie, George Michael, Michael Jackson, Oasis, AC/DC, KISS, Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, Queen, Elvis Presley and Amy Winehouse. “For many of these exclusive lots, it is the first time they have been offered for sale to the public and Propstore expect bidding to be highly competitive.”