The black and red calf leather jacket with winged shoulders was one of two used for the shoot. The other one, in scuffed condition, is owned by the Jackson estate.
The one sold by Julien’s auction house in Beverly Hills is in better shape and is signed on the sleeve by Jackson. It was designed by Deborah Landis, the wife of Thriller director John Landis. Jackson presented it to the vendors, Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush, his longtime costume designers.
It sold to Milton Verret of Austin, Texas, who showed up in person to triumph over about a dozen bidders from around the world.
“It is one of the most important pieces of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia in history,” Verret said.
His collection also includes another Jackson jacket and guitars signed by members of U2.
Plans are underway to show the Thriller jacket at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, before sending it around the world to display during charity events. A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit an animal reserve where Jackson’s two Bengal tigers reside.
Jackson, who died two years ago on Saturday, filmed the video for the title track to his blockbuster album Thriller in 1983. The 14-minute clip, in which Jackson turns into a zombie and dances with other undead types, is considered one of the most influential music videos ever made.