James Brown Passing


Papa has fetched a brand new bag—of money.

The medical bracelet James Brown was wearing before he died on Christmas Day in 2006 sold for a whopping $32,500 Thursday at a Christie's auction of Brown memorabilia.

The winning bidder: The Late Show With David Letterman sidekick and band leader Paul Shaffer.

But although the bracelet way surpassed Christie's $200 to $300 estimate, the day's overall take of $857,688 fell short of expectations.

Also among the 317 personal items on the block at the behest of the Godfather of Soul's estate, which maintained that the auction was necessary to pay bills and taxes: a full-length, black satin cape that went for $47,500; a red leather furniture set that sold for $40,000; and a denim jumpsuit studded with the acronym GFOS that fetched $25,000.

But although Shaffer and the other unnamed memorabilia collectors went away happy, not everyone concerned with Brown's legacy were quite so pleased at the turnout.

"We were not opposed to an auction per se," Yamma Brown, one of his daughters, said today on the Rev. Al Sharpton's New York radio show. "We were opposed to all of the items that went. At the end of the day, everything went."

"It's a very sad day for me and my family," her brother Larry Brown said.

Yamma Brown said that a list of items she and her family wanted to keep was disregarded by the new trustees of Brown's estate, who only on Monday got the OK from a South Carolina judge to proceed with the auction.

Whether the money brought in at auction belongs to Brown's estate or his trust, which holds his song rights and other especially valuable assets, can be "sorted out at a later date," South Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Jasper Cureton wrote in his ruling.

It was Brown's former business managers Buddy Dallas and Alfred Bradley who originally opposed the sale, arguing agains the court's appointment of new trustees. The pair stepped down as trustees last year amid allegations of financial mismanagement brought by Brown's kids.

Other lots available Thursday included the Kennedy Center Honors medal Brown received in 2003, a Grammy, the script for the 2002 film Undercover Brother in which Brown had a cameo, photographs, handwritten lyrics and hair products.

Christie's expected the sale to take in around $1 million.

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