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David Gest memorabilia: Michael Jackson and Liza Minnelli items to be sold

Producer and reality star David Gest’s “serious collection” of music and film memorabilia, including items signed by his friend Michael Jackson and ex-wife Liza Minnelli, is to be auctioned.

Auctioneer John Crane, who knew Gest, said the vast collection showed he “genuinely loved pop memorabilia”.

Other lots include one of Tom Jones’ TV contracts and 30 Cliff Richard badges.

The sale will take place in Liverpool, where Gest had a flat and kept his collection in three storage units.

Buzz Aldrin photoAstronaut Buzz Aldrin signed a photo to the “toast of New York, host of the world”

Gest, who died aged 62, had a long career in showbusiness, starting his own PR business, where his first client was soul singer Al Green, and later becoming a renowned music and concert producer.

He found fame in the UK when he appeared in the 2006 edition of the ITV show I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here, three years after his marriage to Minnelli ended, and a decade later, he featured in Celebrity Big Brother.

He started collecting memorabilia after being prompted by Jackson, who convinced him he was not buying “junk”.

Slides of actor John BarrowmanThe slides of actor John Barrowman were used to promote one of Gest’s musicals

The sale will include more than 800 lots, including an unpublished biography of the pop legend by Gest himself, a signed photo of astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon and an engraved Waterford Crystal invitation to his wedding with Minnelli.

Alongside those are more unusual lots, including a Star Wars action figure signed by film star Liam Neeson, a selection of Christmas cards from the Royal Family, and a set of slides of actor John Barrowman, that were used to promote Gest’s own stage production of the musical Red Red Rose.

There are also numerous photos, posters, sheet music booklets and concert programmes featuring personal dedications to Gest.

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Washbags belonging to Liza MinnelliThe sale includes items once owned by Gest’s former wife, including a pair of washbags

The auctioneer said he first met Gest “about six or seven years ago” after the star bought a flat overlooking Sefton Park.

“He came across as a bit eccentric but really was a genius,” he said.

“He loved Liverpool and felt very comfortable and at home here.”

He said the lots amounted to “a serious collection, not a load of random items, and has taken us about a year to put together”.

“Every item means something to David – whenever he met someone, he would get them to sign something. He genuinely loved pop memorabilia.”

He added that he expected the unpublished biography to draw the most interest ,but added that he was “expecting a busy sale”.

The collection will go on sale at Cato Crane Auctioneers on 8 and 9 July.

www.bbc.com

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