About 300 items from the late James Brown’s estate were auctioned off July 17 at Christie’s in New York City despite his family’s protests against the sale.
Brown fans and collectors packed the room for a chance to take home more than 300 lots of the Godfather of Soul’s possessions, from his signature capes and clothing to furniture, musical instruments, awards and a poem written by Muhammad Ali. The auction reportedly brought in about $857,688.
Some of the top sellers included Brown’s MedicAlert bracelet for $32,500, a black satin beaded cape for $47,500, a blue satin cape embroidered with "Thy Name Is Godfather of Soul" for $35,000, and a denim jumpsuit worn by Brown for the 1974 concert before the "Rumble in the Jungle" fight between Ali and George Foreman for $25,000.
The 73-year-old singer died of heart failure on December 25, 2006, and his estate has been a bone of contention between the family and court-appointed trustees ever since.
The trustees announced in January that personal items would be sold to pay taxes owed by Brown’s estate. The performer’s former managers reportedly tried to stop the auction and Brown’s children publicly criticized it.
"We were given a list of things and asked to go through and check off things that we didn’t think should go, and we were just ignored," Deanna Brown Thomas, one of Brown’s daughters, said on the Rev. Al Sharpton’s radio show. "At the end of the day, everything went."
However, the court battle over who controls Brown’s estate – Tomi Rae Hynie, alleged widow and mother of Brown’s youngest child, or several of his grown children – has yet to be settled.