A treasure trove of Whitney Houston's awards and keepsakes, including her wedding dress, are to be auctioned off less than two miles from where the singer died.
Heritage Auctions bosses in Beverly Hills will oversee the estate sale, which has been sanctioned by Whitney's family, later this month (24-25Jun16).
The items up for grabs include a stage-worn custom-made Dolce & Gabbana Diva Train coat from 1999 and even the Marc Bouwer gown she wore on her wedding day, when she became Mrs. Bobby Brown in 1992.
And auction bosses have the late David Gest to thank for the opportunity to sell Houston's treasures - because he vouched for the company when Whitney's former manager and sister-in-law Pat Houston and other members of the family were looking for a place to oversee the sale before he died.
"The family actually reached out to the president of our company," Heritage Auctions director of Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Garry Shrum says. "We had worked with a good friend of theirs, David Gest. He knew us and liked what we did and told the Houston (family) about us, and my colleague Margaret Barrett and I went out to New Jersey and listened to what they wanted to do.
"We gave them some ideas, they gave us some ideas, and we came up with this 119-piece collection that's basically a retrospective of Whitney from the beginning, from when she first started singing after she left being a background singer for Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls. We have her passport from the beginning, all these various awards and outfits, all kinds of cool and groovy things."
Shrum expects the Whitney collection to fetch over $500,000 (GBP347,000), and a portion of the proceeds will benefit one of the Houston family's chosen charities.
Whitney died of a drug overdose in a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2012.
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