An auction of items from Johnny Cash's estate took in $1.24 million on its first day yesterday (Sept. 14), as collectors paid as much as 15 times the expected amount for the late country music star's

An auction of items from Johnny Cash's estate took in $1.24 million on its first day yesterday (Sept. 14), as collectors paid as much as 15 times the expected amount for the late country music star's belongings.

Bidding at New York auction house Sotheby's topped out at $131,200 for a custom-made guitar used by Cash on his tours. The Grammer model guitar had been expected to bring in $10,000 to $20,000.

Country music's "Man in Black," Cash died last September after complications from diabetes. The auction's 769 lots trace the five decades of his career and his life with June Carter Cash, who died in May 2003.

A photo of Elvis Presley, inscribed with the words "June, I love you," sold for $18,000, well above its expected price of $800 to $1,200. Other top bids included $42,000 for a pair of Tiffany silver centerpieces, expected to go for $15,000 to $20,000. Museums, celebrities and long-time friends of the Cashs were among bidders.

"We always expected this auction to be a success, simply because of the stature Johnny and June have attained," said Leila Dunbar, head of Sotheby's collectibles department. "Here you have the most recognizable union in country music."

Sotheby's had estimated the auction would bring in about $1.5 million, but is likely to far exceed that. The auction runs through tomorrow, with proceeds going to the Cash estate.

Still up for sale are several of Cash's trademark black jackets, a 1987 Rolls Royce and the grand piano featured in his last video, "Hurt."


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