Custom-made furniture Michael Jackson ordered for his Foxbury Manor mansion in England before he passed away last year (Jun09) is to be auctioned off on the first anniversary of the King of Pop's death.
Sofas, chairs and desks the pop superstar commissioned for the English home he never saw will go under the hammer at a Julien's Auction sale in Las Vegas on Friday (25Jun10).
The Thriller singer had planned to fill the luxurious $21 million (£14 million) U.K. residence he planned to rent during his ill-fated 50-date stint at London's O2 Arena with costly Louis XIV and Louis XV replicas. Aides were dispatched to top furniture makers Colombostile in Meda, near Milan, to handpick items and order custom-made chairs, sofas, drawers and tables, crafted using the finest silks, leather, wood, gold leaf and even Swarovski crystals.
The King of Pop reportedly paid over $700,000 (£466,600) for the 22 pieces, which range from a winged wall-mounted console and a Versace-inspired animal-print style table, to a lavish hand-printed leather armchair with crystal legs and a replica of an ebony and inlaid wood desk, which was a gift to Louis XV from the Italian Ambassador.
But he never lived to see the furniture finished - it was still waiting to be shipped to England when Jackson died last summer.
Beverly Hills Luxury Interiors boss and designer to the stars Kenneth Bordewick, who worked as a consultant on the furniture project after designing the look of the rented Hollywood home where Jackson died, says, "The Jackson collection really is remarkable - one parlour set was inspired by furniture at Tsar Nicholas II's Winter Palace for Michael Jackson's English palace. That alone would cost $600,000 because it features hand embroidery with 24-carat gold thread, Swarovski crystals and fine silk.
"Everything was grand and royal because Michael really wanted to be the king of his castle. He wanted to live like a king."
And though the parlour set, featuring a Russian eagle emblem, was the collection's highest priced item, Bordewick, a world-renowned designer, expects a lavish $170,000 sofa to be the big item at auction.
He adds, "That was to be used onstage for Michael's This Is It shows - it was crafted using red-crushed velvet, 24-carat gold and Medici stones, or onyx as it's more commonly known.
"It's a monstrous piece, very Alice in Wonderland, with swags of silk on the back."
Julien's Auctions experts expect the three-piece, nine-seat sofa, designed by Giovanni Maria Malerba da Busca and handmade in Italy, to fetch $150,000 (£100,000) at auction on Friday. Jackson commissioned the piece for $215,000 (£143,300).
Reports suggest Colombostile bosses plan to hand over all the profits from the auction to Jackson's family after previously coming to an arrangement with the late star's mother Katherine.