Clark auctions off musical memorabilia

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NEW YORK -- Fifty years after his first appearance on the TV show that became known as "American Bandstand," Dick Clark let go of the microphone.

The famed host auctioned off a number of items from his personal collection of musical memorabilia, including a microphone he used beginning July 9, 1956 -- his first day on the rock 'n' roll show that made him famous. The microphone went for $33,000 Wednesday at Guernsey's auction house.

Other items sold in the two-day auction included Madonna's bustier worn during the video for "Open Your Heart," for $11,400; a cape belonging to Elvis Presley, for $24,000; and Bob Dylan's harmonica, which went for $18,000, auction president Arlan Ettinger said. A pair of red and yellow boots worn by Elton John sold for $9,600.

Lithographs that John Lennon gave his wife Yoko Ono as a wedding gift were sold for $54,000. The drawings were first exhibited in January 1970 at the London Art Gallery, but the exhibition was closed on the second day by Scotland Yard, which said they were too sexually explicit.

Clark, 76, described himself as "a pack rat" since childhood and said his scripts and memorabilia had filled 28,000 square feet in a California warehouse. Clark, who suffered a stroke in 2004, still goes to work daily and undergoes therapy, Ettinger said.

The auction was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Guernsey's said it would be a no-reserve auction, with everything selling for the highest bid.

Much of the profits from the sale were to go to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which was founded by the music industry to raise money for research on cancer and AIDS, Ettinger said.

The buyer's fee was 20%.
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