LOS ANGELES (AP) - “The Man in Black” was dressed in blue as he rehearsed for a 1969 concert at San Quentin.
The embroidered blue jumpsuit that Johnny Cash wore to practice caused a bidding war during a memorabilia auction Sunday, bringing in nearly 10 times what was expected.
The suit was expected to sell for $5,000, but was eventually claimed for $50,000 by a collector from Belgium, said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. He would not name the buyer.
The auction of 321 lots sold for over $700,000, nearly twice what was expected, Julien said Monday.
The late country singer was photographed in the suit giving a concert photographer “The Finger.”
That photo was used in a 1998 Billboard magazine ad purchased by Cash’s record company to sarcastically thank Nashville and country radio after he received a best country album Grammy for “Unchained.”
“Johnny Cash is highly collectible. He’s got global appeal, especially for a country artist. He was the first country music artist who was collectible. He set the standard,” Julien said.
An international group of fans, collectors and investors took part in the auction, by phone or in person, he said.
A poster announcing Cash’s performance at the prison sold for $25,000, a 1968 passport for $21,875 and a Martin guitar for $50,000.
A shirt made by Nudie Cohn and worn by Cash when he was grand marshal of the American Bicentennial Grand Parade in 1976 brought in $31,250 and a pair of Cash’s knee-high boots sold for $21,875.
Cash died in 2003 of complications from diabetes.
Because he performed at prison so often and led a rather rowdy life early in his career, many people believed he served time in prison. He did not, although he battled drug addiction over the years and received a suspended jail sentence in 1965 on a misdemeanor narcotics charge in Texas.
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