Beaded designer dresses, music award trophies and personal effects including address books and passports are among the more than 100 items belonging to Whitney Houston to be auctioned Friday and Saturday in Beverly Hills.
The Whitney Houston Collection is drawing exceptional interest, Giles Moon, consignment director for sale host Heritage Auctions, told dpa.
“People see her as a pop star, but she was much more than that,” he said. “She had a lot of influence. She was a global phenomenon.”
Four years after her death, the sale is a treasure trove of from Houston’s career: glittery, beaded stage gowns by Dolce and Gabbana, her personal script from the film Waiting to Exhale, award trophies from MTV, Billboard, the American Music Awards and the Emmys, even a German Bambi TV prize.
Houston’s friendships with basketball star Michael Jordan and South African leader Nelson Mandela are memorialized in gifts they gave her – a custom pair of Air Jordans, and a copy of Nobel peace laureate Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, signed to his “friends, Whitney and Bobby” Brown, Houston’s former husband.
Where the sale becomes personal, it poignantly documents her sad demise, like so many celebrity cautionary tales.
Houston’s wedding gown and veil from her 1992 wedding to Brown are on sale, with a starting bid of 3,500 dollars. She and Brown had one child, daughter Bobbi Kristina.
Photos in two passports, from 1985 and 2007, show Whitney Houston’s trajectory from youth sensation to troubled superstar – the first fresh-faced and smiling, the last disheveled.
After a divorce from Brown and long struggles with drugs and alcohol, Houston drowned in 2012 in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel – just a few blocks from where the auction will be held.
Less than a year later after her mother’s death, Bobbi Kristina was found unconscious in a bathtub and died after seven months on life support.
Whitney Houston’s death at 48 is not the only one memorialized by the weekend auction.
The sale includes belongings and memorabilia related to Prince, David Bowie, John Lennon and Elvis – all artists whose lives were cut short too soon.
“I call this the cursed auction,” Heritage Auctions’ Eric Bradley told dpa. “All these artists were cut down in their prime.”
Prince’s yellow Cloud guitar, which he played from 1988-94, is up for sale, along with his first reel-to-reel demo tape from 1977, with a starting bid of 2,000 dollars.
A white baby grand piano Elvis played at Graceland, a lock of David Bowie’s hair and a shirt stained with John Lennon’s blood – from the New York doorman who tended to him after he was fatally shot on December 8, 1980 – are on the block.
The Whitney Houston Collection will be auctioned Friday and Saturday in Beverly Hills and online at ha.com. Organizers expect the sale to net up to 400,000 dollars, Moon said.