Michael Jackson in the "Thriller" (1983) music video. Photo via Youtube.

On April 2, the estate of Michael Jackson sent out a letter to New Jersey’s Gotta Have Rock and Roll (GHRR) auction house questioning the sale of an item of memorabilia.

The piece will be familiar to any fans of the King of Pop: a bright red leather jacket with black trim details, as seen on Jackson for his iconic 1983 music video “Thriller.” Despite the item of clothing being labelled “owned & worn,” Jonathan Steinsapir, the attorney representing the estate, claims in his letter that this jacket was never worn by the singer during the production of the video.

The “Michael Jackson 1983 Owned & Worn Thriller Style Jacket” listed on Gotta Have Rock and Roll. Photo: Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

Only two “Thriller” jackets were worn by Jackson during the making of the 14-minute clip, which won the singer three MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. One of the two jackets confirmed to have been worn by Jackson during filming sold for almost $2 million in June 2011 at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles, with a percentage of the proceeds donated to the Shambala Preserve animal sanctuary.

GHRR’s jacket had previously been sold at Sotheby’s in July 1993 as part of their Rock N Roll Memorabilia Sale. Before being consigned to Sotheby’s, the jacket was owned by Frank DiLeo, Jackson’s manager between 1983 and 1989 (who also played Teddy Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas. The pair worked together on the album Thriller (1982), with Jackson praising DiLeo for “turning my dream into a reality.”

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket on view at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, 2011. Photo: Gabriel Bouys / AFP via Getty Images.

According to TMZ, the pop star’s estate expressed concerns that GHHR’s listing—which set an estimate between $300,000 and $500,000—could affect the value of the real “Thriller” jacket and in turn, that of his other memorabilia.

Since receiving the estate’s complaint, the auction house has amended the item’s description to clarify that the jacket “was not worn during the ‘Thriller’ music video.” However, it added: “The jacket is still an incredible item.” The word “style” has also been included in the lot’s title to indicate that it was not actually worn by Jackson, which has done nothing for the low level of interest in the jacket. As of April 5, no bids have been placed on the lot.

The item is part of GHRR’S Rock and Roll Pop Culture Auction, made up of two sessions closing on April 12 and April 13. Other lots available include a Grammy Trustee Award presented to John Lennon as part of The Beatles in 1972, several rings owned and worn by Elvis Presley, and a jacket worn by Jim Morrison in 1967 on the night he was arrested on stage.

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