The Bids Go On at Cher Memorabilia Auction Entertainer and all-around diva Cher is auctioning off furniture, personal valuables and some of her outrageous costumes from the 1970s. Many of the items are reportedly priced below market value so that her many fans can snap up collectibles.
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The Bids Go On at Cher Memorabilia Auction

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The Bids Go On at Cher Memorabilia Auction

The Bids Go On at Cher Memorabilia Auction

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ALEX CHADWICK, host:

If we need to clean the closets, most of us have a garage sale. When Cher decides to get rid of a few things, she has an auction. Here's DAY TO DAY senior producer Steve Proffitt.

STEVE PROFFITT: Personal effects, furniture, costumes and gowns - tons of stuff Cher has collected over the years goes on auction today in Los Angeles. I got a preview, and since I know nothing about furniture or fashion, I invited someone who does to join me. He's pop culture writer and DAY TO DAY contributor, Charles Phoenix.

CHARLES PHOENIX: The costumes are all pure Sonny and Cher, and Cher, and all that - by Bob Mackie, of course. Then all this Goth furniture, and some of it's not so Goth. It's kind of a combination between Goth and out-of-control Liberace, maybe a little? I mean, don't tell Cher I said that.

PROFFITT: Cher wasn't at the preview. Apparently, she's in Europe. But lots of fans and collectors showed up at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to gaze at the gowns and marvel at the array of audacious, over-sized furniture. You can see some of this stuff at our Web site, npr.org.

PHOENIX: Okay, this furniture would be perfect for Hearst Castle.

PROFFITT: But it's the costumes - the outrageous Bob Mackie designs Cher began wearing on the Sonny and Cher TV show in the early ‘70s - that the fans and collectors were most interested in.

Ms. MARILEE HOUSER(ph): This is over the top. She pushes it. You always look forward to what's Cher going to wear? What's she going to do? I mean, she's just - I think she's fun.

PROFFITT: That's Marilee Houser, taking in the show with her sister, Diana. Pretty soon, Charles has them singing.

PHOENIX: (Singing) Babe.

MARILEE and DIANA HOUSER: (Singing) Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum…

GROUP: I got you, babe. Bum, bum, bum, bum…I got you, babe.

(Soundbite of song, “I Got You, Babe”)

Mr. SONNY BONO (Singer): (Singing) I got flowers in the spring…

PROFFITT: Along with the fans, there are serious collectors. Charles and I spot a guy checking out a gown. He's got a flashlight, a magnifying glass and a pair of white, cotton gloves.

PHOENIX: Excuse me, you dropped your white glove.

PROFFITT: He's James Comisar, curator of the Comisar Collection.

Mr. JAMES COMISAR (Curator, Comisar Collection): The world's largest archive of television artifacts.

PROFFITT: Comisar is a serious buyer, ready to spend big bucks on Cher costumes.

Mr. COMISAR: The beaded dresses created by Bob Mackie are probably touchstones of the entire decade of 1970s. I mean, we look at these garments, and they look a little over the top, a little whimsical, but in the ‘70s, we all wanted to be these people. We wanted to be Sonny and Cher. And each of these, I think, is a great treasure worth many thousands of dollars.

PROFFITT: Comisar expects some of the Mackie gowns to fetch as much as 20 grand. Some of the furnishings may go for even more. Charles found one of the auctioneers, Laura Woolley. She proved Charles Phoenix is a man who knows his knows his furniture.

PHOENIX: Would you agree with me the home-décor style of Cher could easily be summed up in two words: Hearst Castle?

Ms. LAURA WOOLLEY (Auctioneer): Well, a number of pieces here are from Hearst Castle.

PHOENIX: What?

PROFFITT: Yes. Cher, it seems, picked up some of the stuff originally collected by William Randolph Hearst. And before I know it, Charles has cajoled this sophisticated auctioneer into another little musical tribute.

Ms. WOOLLEY: (Singing) Dum, dum, dum, da-dum, dum, da-dum…

(Soundbite of song, “The Beat Goes On”)

CHER (Singer and Actress): (Singing) Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain…

PROFFITT: As we're about to leave, Charles spots the designer, Bob Mackie, who has 40 years of experience making costumes for Cher.

PHOENIX: Does she give you an idea of what she wants, or do you come up…

Mr. BOB MACKIE (Fashion Designer): Well, she didn't used to, but now she sits and thinks about all of her fantasies, and then I hear about them all.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PHOENIX: Well, that sounds, like, kind of fun.

Mr. MACKIE: Well, (unintelligible)

PHOENIX: Sitting on this Goth sofa right here, perhaps?

Mr. MACKIE: Oh, perhaps, yes. Well, she's, you know, heading for a new look these days.

PHOENIX: Okay, well, God knows we all are. So that's a good thing.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PROFFITT: Writer Charles Phoenix with designer Bob Mackie. The Cher auction continues through tomorrow, and it includes her 2005 Bentley Continental GT Coupe. I wonder if it still smells like Cher. Steve Proffitt, NPR News.

PHOENIX: (Singing) And when I'm…

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) down…

PHOENIX: Sad.

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) Sad, you're a clown.

PHOENIX: (Singing) And when something…

Unidentified Woman: (Singing) I get scared.

PHOENIX and Unidentified Woman: (Singing) You're always around.

(Soundbite of song, “I Got You, Babe”)

CHER: (Singing) So let them they say your hair's too long. I don't care, with you I can't go wrong.

Mr. BONO: (Singing) Then put your little hand in mine. There ain't no hill or mountain we can't climb. Babe.

CHER and Mr. BONO: (Singing) I got you, babe. I got you, babe.

CHADWICK: DAY TO DAY is a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Alex Chadwick.

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