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James Brown's items bring $857,688, less than expected

The auction of James Brown's personal possessions by Christie's in New York on Thursday yielded some jaw-dropping surprises.

But the $857,688 brought in from the more than 300 items sold was on the short end of the auction house's pre-sale estimates.

There was intense interest in some items. A medical bracelet engraved with Brown's name, and noting he was diabetic and allergic to penicillin, was projected to go for $200 to $300.

The final tally: $32,500.

Paul Shaffer, band leader for “The Late Show With David Letterman,” was one of the bidders on the bracelet. An unnamed private bidder won it.

Shaffer did win a blue satin cape, embroidered with “Thy Name Is Godfather of Soul,” for $35,000, a price about $15,000 higher than predicted.

Another surprise: A hand-tinted photograph of Brown at 9 years old was listed at $500. It sold for $5,000.

There were some disappointments, though.

Two red suits, each with a projected price of $2,000 to $3,000, sold for $625 and $1,000. And a set of handwritten lyrics, with a price of $2,000 to $3,000, was one of 12 items that didn't sell at all.

Brown's Hammond B-3 organ sold for $10,000, about $5,000 less than the low estimate.

And The Augusta Chronicle reported Brown's Grammy Award for “Living in America” was withdrawn from the auction without explanation.

But a red leather sofa, matching loveseat and armchair sold for $40,000 – the second-highest bid of the day, after the $47,500 an unnamed institution paid for a beaded black cape – and a set of side chairs sold for $9,375.

Ten pairs of Brown's shoes sold in one lot for $15,000.

And an autographed Dancin' Shoutin' James Brown doll that performs “I Feel Good” and was displayed in Brown's living room sold for $750. It had been projected to sell for $200 to $300.

That's music to someone's ears.

Brown died on Christmas Day in 2006 of heart failure at age 73.

The Associated Press contributed.

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