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Demand may grow for Jackson merchandise

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Sold Jackson items on eBay increase 210 percent compared to last week
  • Plenty of Michael Jackson merchandise goes on sale
  • Online auction site ebay boasts thousands of items from T-shirts to soda
  • Memorabilia expert predicts Jackson autograph to at least double in price
By Lisa Respers France
CNN
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(CNN) -- If you sell it, they will come.

Prices are expected to grow for Michael Jackson autographs like the one he gave this young fan in 2002.

Prices are expected to grow for Michael Jackson autographs like the one he gave this young fan in 2002.

That's the hope at least for many offering Michael Jackson related merchandise and memorabilia, including autographed items and domain names, in the wake of his surprising death.

Almost 20,000 items were up for sale after his death on the popular auction site eBay, where collectors could snap up everything from the rare to the ridiculous.

Among the many T-shirts, record albums, DVDs and posters, there were also magazines about Jackson, dolls and copies of newspapers announcing his death.

There were Michael Jackson gloves (sparkly, of course), masks, wigs, sunglasses and fedora hats. Anyone in the mood for some senior soda could try and win an auction for an unopened six-pack of Pepsi from the 1984 Jacksons world tour.

For those seeking to establish Web sites, domain names were available including "ILoveYouMichael.com," which was selling for the "buy it now" price of $5,000. Officials at eBay said that compared with the daily average of the week prior, Thursday's gross merchandise volume for Jackson memorabilia increased by 275 percent and sold items increased by 210 percent.

New listings were up 61 percent, while the average selling price of items had increased by 31 percent.

Online merchant CafePress also offered a variety of items, including mugs, "R.I.P. Michael Jackson" magnets and dozens of T-shirt designs, including one screened with a drawing of tennis legend Billie Jean King and the words "not my lover."

Some of the hottest items may turn out to be the ones bearing Jackson's signature.

On eBay, bids for what the buyer claimed was a signed Michael Jackson guitar had reached almost $1,300 by Friday afternoon.

Jerry Ohlinger, owner of Jerry Ohlinger's Movie Material Store in New York, predicted that although Jackson was generous in giving autographs, the price for a legitimate autograph probably will at least double from the $150 to $300 range it was prior to his death.

"He would sign autographs whenever he appeared in person," Ohlinger said. "For instance, he visited our store at least three times, and he signed autographs for all of the employees."

As a comparison, Ohlinger said, an autograph for the late actress Marilyn Monroe, who also was known to sign a great deal during her lifetime, sells for about $5,000 because of great demand.

As of Friday, items purported to be autographed photos of Jackson were ranging in price from just over $5 to several thousand dollars.

There is no way to predict whether there will be a sudden influx in demand for Michael Jackson memorabilia and merchandise, Ohlinger said.

All of the hoopla would probably tickle the pop icon, who Ohlinger said was himself a fan of star items.

Whenever Jackson would visit Ohlinger's Manhattan store, he would shop for vintage photos of some of the legendary ladies of cinema, including his very dear friend Elizabeth Taylor, Ohlinger recalled.

All About Michael JacksoneBay Inc.

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