Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced in August to 30 months in prison for improperly using $750,000 in campaign funds to buy himself and his wife expensive — oftentimes bizarre — gifts.
Jackson was forced to hand over the purchases as part of his guilty plea, and the U.S. is now auctioning them off to cover what Jackson owes the government. Though some of the coolest and strangest items are not up for grabs at the moment — like Michael Jackson's $4,600 fedora and an Eddie Van Halen guitar — there are a dozen other items for you, the savvy collector of kitsch, to choose from.
As you consider throwing down hundreds of dollars for a piece or pieces of history, here's some help deciding just what to buy, in order of worst to best purchase:
12. Double framed and matted "Michael Jackson" autographed record album titled, They Don't Care About Us
Pro: The signed record is in a case where you will never have to hear it.
Con: The song in question sparked accusations that Jackson was racist. Unless you want people to wonder the same thing about you, probably best to consider one of the many other items signed by the King of Pop.
11. Lady's brown cashmere cape with brown mink double edge trim
The most expensive cape ever designed with Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog in mind.
10. Framed and matted "Michael Jackson" autographed record album titled Blood on the Dance Floor
Getting better in the Michael Jackson department, but still not quite there. "Blood on the Dance Floor" was one of Jackson's better late-career hits, but it's a poor place to start your budding collection of autographed Michael Jackson albums. Imagine how you would have to explain this to a friend: "Hey, who has two thumbs and the 48th-best Michael Jackson single framed on his wall?"
9. Framed and matted "Michael Jackson" autographed poster of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction 2001
"...and here's my signed picture of Michael at an awards ceremony I wasn't invited to."
8. Lady's black sheared mink hooded parka with full length sleeves
The perfect gift for the woman who has everything except a black sheared mink hooded parka with full-length sleeves.
7. Double framed and matted "Bruce Lee" autographed paper cut; 2 unsigned 8 x 10 color photos
For only $350, you can get Bruce Lee's signature on a scrap of paper plus two bonus pictures of him (unsigned.)
6. Double framed and matted "Michael Jackson Thank you A.E.G. 2009" autographed Zildjian ZBT Splash 10" cymbal
Unless your initials are "AEG" this will look ridiculous in your home or collection. As for you, Sir Alexander Edward Garfield, bid away.
5. Double framed and matted "Bruce Lee" autographed 8 x 10 color photo from Fist of Furymovie
Great movie, great gift. On second thought, do not bid on this. Or do bid on it, but ship it to me.
4. Lady's black sheared mink jacket with 40 percent silver fox sleeves
Two different animals for the price of one? What a steal! Despite being the cronut of fur jackets, and despite its fun history as evidence in the corruption trial of a civil rights scion, this is going for only — only — $360.
3. Framed and matted "Michael Jackson" autographed poster of 25th Anniversary of Thriller
Finally, a good piece of Michael Jackson memorabilia. Yes, it's not an original copy of Thriller, but rather a poster commemorating the anniversary edition. Still, the frame contains a tiny picture of Jackson playing with a tiger, which alone is worth, if not hundreds of dollars, at least hundreds of smiles.
2. Lady's red cashmere cape with dyed black mink trim
There have already been almost 40 bids on this item, all of them placed, presumably, by Cruella de Vil.
1. Double framed and matted "Best Wishes Bruce Lee" autographed 8 x 10 color photo from The Way of the Dragon
Another classic Bruce Lee movie, this one featuring Chuck Norris. The real prize here, though, is the generic signature: "Best Wishes, Bruce Lee." Sure, Lee didn't mean best wishes to you, exactly, but no one has to know that. Buy this, concoct an incredible phony story about the time you met Lee, and wow your friends. (Mink cape not included.)
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- How Israel's hawks intimidated and silenced the last remnants of the anti-war left
- 10 things you need to know today: August 21, 2014
- Why your employer should clean your house and do your laundry
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- It's time for the police to rethink 'shoot-to-kill'
- The big policy question libertarians can't answer
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The real lesson of Rick Perry's mug shot
- The fascinating political evolution of Paul Ryan
Subscribe to the Week