Who's Bad

Certainly not Victor Renza, who donated proceeds from the sale of Michael Jackson’s tour jacket to the Paramount.


The year: 1989. Michael Jackson, fresh off his Bad tour, was still the undisputed King of Pop. In Cortlandt Manor, one fan—who had seen Jackson live four times that year—decided he wanted a souvenir. A big one. When he saw that one of two Bad tour jackets—you know, the black one with all the zippers and buckles—was going on auction, he decided to bid. When the gavel came down, he’d won the jacket for $4,400—$600 less than his maximum intended bid.

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The fan was Victor Renza, now co-owner of the Backstage Salon in Croton-on-Hudson. “I bought it not because I thought it would be a good investment,” he says. “I just loved Michael Jackson.” Luckily, though, it wound up being a great investment. After Jackson’s death—and after having displayed the jacket in his family room for almost 20 years—Renza figured it was time to sell it again. This time, Julien’s Auctions sold it to a Texas collector for $225,000.

Renza decided to donate $10,000 of the sale to the Paramount Center for the Arts. “I’m a member there. I go to a lot of the shows, and I do the hair of all the women over there who run it!” The donation will be made at the Paramount’s Red Carpet Night Gala on June 26, which will feature a performance by Smokey Robinson (who’s also closely tied to Jackson history).

And the jacket? The Texas collector will put it in a museum, where it will be available for public viewing.

Photo by Shaan Kokin/Julien’s Auctions

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