‘Fake’ Michael Jackson record sold in Swedish charity auction

'Fake' Michael Jackson record sold in Swedish charity auction
A platinum copy of the record “Thriller”, supposedly once owned by pop icon Michael Jackson, was auctioned off for charity by Sweden's state broadcasters at the weekend, despite lingering questions about the record's authenticity.

The record brought in 73 bids after being put up for sale on Swedish internet auction site Tradera to raise money for Musikhjäpen (‘Music Help’), an annual fundraising initiative carried out jointly by Sveriges Television (SVT) and Sveriges Radio (SR).

The winning bid for the record, which includes a label reading “To Michael Jackson”, came in at 126,100 kronor ($18,100), despite claims it may be a fake.

“This person absolutely wanted this object and had no standpoint about [its authenticity], SR’s David Gustafsson, project leader for Musikhjäplen, told the TT news agency after the auction.

According to the person who donated the Jackson record, it had previously been auctioned off for charity in the United States in the early 1990s.

While the platinum version of “Thriller” is formatted according Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) standards, the record lacks a certificate of authenticity.

Officials from Musikhjälpen explained that a number of experts had been consulted in order to “evaluate the authenticity of the object” and that “a couple of factors” indicted it was authentic, including the RIAA standards as well as the fact that it had been in the same person’s possession for the past 20 years.

But record expert Stefan Dimle, cast doubt on claims about the record’s authenticity.

“I believe it’s a 180 percent pirated copy,” Dimle told TT on Saturday after the bidding had started.

Dimle, one of the experts consulted by SR about the record’s authenticity, said he expressed his misgivings to the charity organizers.

“They wanted to know the value of the record and emailed me some nice pictures. I judged it immediately to be illegal and advised them to hide it in the cellar,” said Dimle.

According to Dimle, the platinum “Thriller” sold at auction differs from a genuine platinum record on ten distinct points.

Dimle thought it regrettable that Sweden’s state broadcasters nevertheless opted to move forward with the auction of what he considered to be a fake.

But SR music and events manager Pia Kalischer was surprised by Dimle’s statements questioning the authenticity of the record.

“That’s not what he told us. He didn’t offer ten points. He didn’t say we should hide it in the cellar. He advised us to call someone else and that he couldn’t determine whether or not it was false,” Kalischer told TT.

After initial bidding had reached about 2.5 million kronor by Saturday afternoon, officials at Musikhjälpen nevertheless decided to restart the bidding.

Overall, the fundraising drive, hosted by Swedish hip hop artist Jason Diakité (Timbuktu), raised more than 18 million kronor for charities working to ensure that all girls can attend school.

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