The pair of socks that Michael Jackson wore during the first-ever performance of his famous moonwalk dance are going up for sale on GottaHaveRockandRoll.com on November 13. The sparkly, crystal-encrusted socks are expected to go for between $1 million and $2 million, NME reports.
Jackson debuted his moonwalk during a performance of “Billie Jean” on March 5, 1983, while recording the Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever television special. The socks will reportedly come with a letter that Jackson wrote to his manager at the time, Frank DiLeo.
“Michael gifted the socks to his manager Frank DiLeo during the 1984 Victory Tour and wrote and signed a letter to Frank to accompany them,” the auction listing reads.
“Comes with a letter from Frank DiLeo’s wife Linda DiLeo attesting that Michael wore the socks when he did his moonwalk at the Motown Special and then subsequently gave them to her husband during the Victory Tour, as well as an email from Jimmy Darren confirming their authenticity.”
An October auction at Hard Rock Cafe in New York saw the sale of Jackson’s famous right-hand leather glove and custom velvet jacket. The late pop star wore the glove during “The Jacksons’ Triumph Tour” in 1981, and the jacket was worn on many occasions, including the 50th Cannes Film Festival and Elizabeth Taylor’s 65th birthday party in 1997. The iconic items were sold alongside handwritten lyrics from Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan.
#MJTrivia: Which beloved rapper appeared as a child in Michael Jackson’s “Ghosts”? Hint: He says he started wearing loafers and high waisted pants during his 2009 Ecstatic tour in homage to Michael. pic.twitter.com/OR9PWLDKeU— Michael Jackson (@michaeljackson) October 29, 2019
The sale of Jackson memorabilia comes in the wake of Leaving Neverland, the controversial HBO documentary in which Wade Robson and James Safechuck accuse the King of Pop of sexually abusing them as children. There has been a significant drop in earnings related to the proliferation of Jackson’s music from 2018 to 2019 — $400 million pretax to just $60 million — although it’s unclear if this negative publicity will be reflected in the final bid on his moonwalk socks.
According to Forbes‘ Zack O’Malley Greenburg, the earnings drop isn’t necessarily due to the Leaving Neverland allegations. He claims that much of the dip is most likely rooted in the completion of megadeals and asset sales that drove previous earnings.
The release of Leaving Neverland has caused many to reevaluate Jackson’s legacy. Filmmaker Louis Theroux revealed he thought the film did a good job covering the allegations, and said he believes there are others like Robson and Safechuck who need their voices to be heard. Others — including Jackson’s former bodyguard Matt Fiddes and Jackson biographer Mike Smallcombe, who were featured in Michael Jackson: Chase the Truth— claim that the accusations are motivated by money.