People Like Stuff. They like to have stuff and collect stuff and brag about their stuff. Stuff makes people feel more important. Sometimes people like to have stuff that used to be a celebrity's stuff. This makes them feel really extra good, like they can go into their dens and pretend they were once pals of the celebrity. When you are pals with a celebrity, you are clearly more important just by proximity. Some of their Celebrity Magic Dust rubs off on you, and you are more intelligent, cooler, and no longer have an offensive body odor problem and/or a lazy eye.

Some people like to spend their discretionary income on celebrity old stuff. Did you know you can pick up a vintage Corey Hart t-shirt for only $45? If you are saying "who the hell is Corey Hart?" this is a good sign. If you know who Corey Hart is and think you would pay the $45 for the shirt and wear it, you are either terribly knowingly camp or still have giant '80s hair and long pink press-on nails like in the movie "Working Girl." Anyway, every so often one of the big auction houses has a "rock n' roll memorabilia" bid fest, knowing that there's always someone out there with a fat wallet who wants to feel like Mr. Big Shit, or just hopes to get some kind of high sniffing the armpits of a leather jacket once worn by Slash.

The most recent of these auctions was held a couple days ago by Julien's Auctions: "The Music Icons and Steven Tyler Auctions" at The Hard Rock Cafe in New York City. Despite that oddly-worded description, the auction seems to have been quite a success, for even in these very-money-challenged times, people want their cool factor more than paying down their debt or eating regular meals. Let's play a game: I will show you a photo of some items from the sale, you estimate what it would be worth to you (not as an investment, just what you would pay for it for your own cool factor), and then I will tell you what it sold for. We'll learn something about ourselves, the nature of celebrity worship, whether Elvis Presley printed or wrote in cursive, and what it cost Madonna to get her nails done and her girl-stache waxed off. Here we go.


Hands down, Prince has always had the butt-ugliest guitars in music history, as well as the most hideous clothes. This guitar reminds me of a toilet brush that my step-grandma Harriet used to have in the '60s. Shudder. Value to me: $0.0.

SOLD FOR: $11,875.00


Worth it to try to sell to some poor guy trying to make a fake ID -- "Uh, "Mr. Holly," is it? I did not realize that you were Asian. Or alive. Please wait over there while I get the cavity search gloves and taser. Thank you." I'd pay 30 bucks to see that go down.

SOLD FOR: $1,875.00


All four Beatles made this out to one "June" and each gave her triple-X "kisses." I think June was a popular girl with the lads from Liverpool, oh yes I do. As an nod to her sultry charms and hopeful lack of disease, I'd pay a couple of hundred bucks.

SOLD FOR: $3,584.00


Let us now salute the sacrifices to art made by one Lydia Han, who cut the cuticles, dug out the toejam, and removed the unwanted body hair from hirsute Italian-American pop superstar Madonna. This unsung hero of rock and roll might have saved us from a god-knows-what sight. I'd pay fifty bucks for this because it makes me laugh.

SOLD FOR: $1,062.50


You didn't really think Elvis would write in cursive, did you? The King of Rock n' Roll doesn't even use lowercase letters, man. I wonder if the writing is slanted on the page because of how he held the pen, or if he was really high. I'd pay 30 bucks for it for the sunny yellow color; it would brighten up my office.

SOLD FOR: $6,250.00

We will finish with a short Michael Jackson selection from the Julien's sale.


Look at this. No, don't turn away, LOOK. Artist Leon Jones really should have put this on black velvet. If he had done so, I might have thrown like a 5 at it, but it's too scary to display anyway. I have children for chrissakes.

SOLD FOR: $8,750.00


As it turns out, Jackson was a fairly decent artist. That's nice. What disturbs me here is the idea that a grown man in 1998 is drawing a picture of a cartoon character dressed like himself in 1987. Psychologists would further note the use of the large capitals in Jackson's signature, and the arrow pointing towards his name as well as the starburst at the tail of the signature. Yeah, man, you were the King Of Pop, we get it. Worked out well for ya, eh? I would not pay anything for this because I don't like to feel creeped out. And I don't like Mickey Mouse anyway.

SOLD FOR: $56,250.00


I remember watching Jackson on this show. Although I was not a fan of his music that he was making then, I like everyone else went "cool" when he did the moonwalk. But the glove thing? Just weird. I would pay ten bucks for it for MissSeven to use for dress up, although she would always be badgering me for the missing right glove.


I have just further discovered my own cool factor this morning. A Kinks show playbill I own and that is buried somewhere in a box in my garage is apparently worth $330. Oh yes, you read that right. Now you are all going to want to get your picture taken with me, I just know it.