Fans of late singer Anita Mui hijack auction of her belongings
Anita Mui devotees outbid all-comers at sale of late Canto-pop singer's personal items
Die-hard fans of the late Canto-pop diva Anita Mui Yim-fong seized control of the auction room floor in an attempt to thwart other bidders cashing in on her fame yesterday.
Even the famed worldwide Hard Rock Cafe restaurant chain was paralysed by the financial power behind the Anita Mui International Fan Club as one unidentified bidder splashed out HK$600,000 for 11 of Mui's gold and platinum albums.
Dozens of fan club members, poised with their bidding cards and deep pockets, triggered one bidding war after another at the Paidegao auction house in Central yesterday.
Members were easily identified as they corralled one another to bid to beat off rival suitors. Each successful bid was met with piercing screams and applause from a large section of the 200-strong audience.
Hard Rock Cafe's director of Asia Pacific franchise operations and development David Martin was constantly outbid by fan club members.
"It was the fan club trying to keep things for themselves and it was pushing all the prices up," Martin said. "That was what all the cheering was. You could tell when the fans were actually buying an item, everyone was cheering and happy."
Martin said he planned to put the available items in a number of new stores across Asia as his company plotted "aggressive expansion" of the chain of restaurants. Martin watched as each lot of awards was snapped up for HK$200,000. He said prices were "insane".
"They've got some diehard fans and they just don't want to let things go," he said. "She was an icon, and that's what you'd expect."
Fan club member Ada Ho Chi-kwan, 38, said the bidding was crazy, but worth it. "I wanted to bid, but it was too expensive. I only had a few thousand [to spend]," she said.
Other people, who did not want to be identified, told the Post they paid HK$50,000 for a wooden head and white porcelain statue of Guanyin (the goddess of mercy known as Kwun Yam in Hong Kong). However, even a HK$420,000 bid for calligraphy written by Canto-pop singer and actor Andy Lau Tak-wah fell short of the final price.
Watch: Fashion designer Eddie Lau on the story behind Anita Mui's wedding gown