In recent days, sites like eBay and other online forums have reported a 5,000% - 10,000% increase in Michael Jackson memorabilia sales and listings since his passing on June 25, 2009. All types of items are being sold, including costumes. "The clothing items really are something that's going to see a tremendous increase in value simply because they're unique - it's something that Jackson wore once, maybe twice," says Grant. "You can trace it back, usually, to a particular event that he wore it." Grant says that a coat he wore in 1993 was worth roughly $1,000 before his death; now, the price has shot up to $2,500.
Jackson's famous white gloves are also in demand, even though there are quite a few being auctioned off. While they were worth a few thousand dollars a few years ago, they "would now go for $50,000 to $80,000," says Grant.
Autographs can also be profitable. "Anything Jackson signed is going to go up in value, but the key here [is authenticity]," says Grant. "Anyone out there who's got any talent signing Jackson's name is going to fake it at this point." Be sure to buy signed items from a reputable dealer and have it authenticated to be sure it's the real thing.
Unique signed items will also be worth more than mass produced items. For example, a signed sketch or ticket will be worth more than a signed poster.
Also, be on the lookout for unopened items in mint condition. If you were one of the few people who didn't tear into their Thriller CD or tape, you can now sell it for a hefty profit. "If you have an unopened item - especially if it's been signed - that's something that you're going to see a huge amount of value in," says Grant. "There really aren't a lot of unopened albums." If you're interested in buying an unopened album, look for first press editions. These editions were the first ones released and are worth much more than subsequent editions. Grant says an unopened, first press edition of Thriller is worth about $2,000.
Career mementos can also be worth a lot of money. "If you have lyrics, master tapes, any of those platinum records that are floating around out there... those are going to be items that are very very interesting to collectors," says Grant. "Throughout his career, [Jackson] was actually known for... [taking] pictures of himself in the clothing, sign the clothing and then hand it off."
Right now, concert t-shirts and ticket stubs can also bring in some money. But, be careful with what you sell or buy. "The things are going to have the most value long term will be things that are personal to Jackson - things that he owned, things that he touched," says Grant. While these smaller items may have value now, many fans are buying them for sentimental value, not investment value. Unless you have a t-shirt or a ticket from a particularly memorable concert or event, these items may be poor investment opportunities.
Finally, if you plan to sell an item, sell it quickly; demand is already falling for certain items. "Prices skyrocketed right after his death, so that window has really closed for those sorts of investors [looking to make a quick profit]," says Grant. If you buy anything, be sure to pay with a credit card to protect yourself. "That way, you do have some recourse if you get the item authenticated and it turns out to be a fake," says Grant.
For more information on investing in celebrity memorabilia, as well as additional personal financial advice, click here to visit www.SmartMoney.com.
By Erin Petrun