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Bidders Chase Elton John Memorabilia and a Banksy in First Week of Sales

More than 3,500 people from 34 countries registered for the chance to bid on the superstar Elton John’s rocket-shaped cocktail shakers, ornate jumpsuits, and black-and-white fashion photography at Christie’s “Goodbye Peachtree Road” auction this week. Two sales over three days featuring the celebrated musician’s belongings rocketed to $14.4 million, with auction-house fees, outperforming the high estimate of $11.3 million.

Bidders vied for silver leather platform boots thesinger wore throughout the 1970s (they sold for $94,000, more than nine times the high estimate) and an 18-karat gold Rolex watch with a leopard-print dial (it fetched $176,400, about three times the high estimate).

Over two and a half weeks, John and his husband, David Furnish, will offload around 900 items they collected over the decades and lived with in their Atlanta home. Most of the remaining auctions will take place online through Feb. 28, including sales of John’s celebrity portraits, jewelry and Versace clothes. With six online sales to go, the collection has already exceeded the original (and perhaps conservative) expectation of $10 million set by Christie’s.

The top price from Wednesday’s sale, $1.9 million, was for a triptych by Banksy depicting a masked man throwing a bouquet of flowers as if it were a Molotov cocktail.Credit…via Christie’s

On Wednesday night, Elton John hits played over the loudspeakers as guests streamed into Christie’s Rockefeller Center salesroom, where auction house employees were decked out in sequins and feathers. The evening’s most sought-after offerings were equally flamboyant. A flurry of bidders chased a neon sign spelling out “Horny?!” designed by the photographer and music video director David LaChapelle for John’s residency at Caesars Palace. It sold for $26,450, shattering the high estimate of $1,500. A collection of ruby-colored Versace porcelain dinnerware emblazoned with the face of Medusa realized $55,440, more than nine times its $6,000 high estimate. Also a hot commodity: John’s black 1990 Bentley Continental two-door convertible, which sold for $441,000, more than 10 times its high estimate. In an essay published by Christie’s, the EGOT winner said the car “caused quite a stir whenever I took it out” in Atlanta.

Now, as Furnish told The New York Times in January, the star wants to pull back from touring to spend more time with their two young sons. Last fall, the couple sold their six-bedroom Atlanta condominium for $7.2 million — a price $2 million over asking.

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