Never-before-seen portraits of Michael Jackson shot by French photographer Arno Bani in 1999 will hit the block this October at the Pierre Berge Associes auction house. In one of the photographs revealed to the press, titled simply "Michael Jackson's Blue Eye," Jackson is seen posing solemnly in a studded black blazer with a glittery blue circle enveloping his left eye. The 12 prints, each numbered "one of one," will be up for auction October through December with an opening bid of 1,000 Euros. Fifty contact boards from the photo session will also be auctioned off.
According to the AFP, Jackson entrusted Bani to photograph him after seeing Bani's work in the Sunday Times' Style magazine. Bani's shots were originally destined to become artwork on Jackson's final studio album, 2001's Invincible, but the record company ultimately decided on other imagery. The auction house has indicated the photographs will be published in undisclosed locations worldwide in October.
These unseen Jackson portraits aren't the only King of Pop-related items hitting the block. E! reports that an auction comprised of Jackson memorabilia from private collectors will be showcased by Julien's Auctions at Las Vegas' Planet Hollywood on June 24th and 25th to mark the one-year anniversary of Michael's death. That auction will feature Jackson's clothes, gloves, hats and many other trademark items.
As Rolling Stone reported last year in the months prior to Jackson's death, many personal items from Jackson's Neverland Ranch nearly went on the auction block before Jackson, who was dealing with severe financial debt at the time, prevented the sale at the last minute. For more on that near-auction, check out our gallery, plus our look back at the year after Jackson's death.