Jacko's glittery glove makes debut in Macau

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From a distance, Michael Jackson's iconic rhinestone-encrusted glove shimmers like a marquise diamond.

A closer look, however, reveals that the piece of pop history is a rather less resplendent re-fashioned golf glove with sweat stains and frayed edges.

That is unlikely to deter the late singer's fans who can now see the glove and about 40 other items of Jackson memorabilia up close at a gallery which opened Monday in the glitzy Asian gambling haven Macau.

The Ponte 16 gaming resort - half-owned by gambling tycoon Stanley Ho's Sociedade de Jogos de Macau - paid about one million US dollars for the items at auctions last year in New York, Los Angeles and London.

The resort stumped up 350,000 US dollars for Jackson's left-handed glove - worn by the singer when he performed his first "moonwalk" dance in 1983.

The singer, who died suddenly last June aged 50, regularly added a single glove to his costume in concert or in his ground-breaking music videos, and many are in the hands of collectors.

Another crystal-studded white glove sold in Melbourne in September for 49,000 dollars.

But most of Jackson's other gloves were right-handed to accommodate the star's myriad stage theatrics, such as running his fingers through his hair, said Ponte 16 Deputy Chief Executive Hoffman Ma.

"He is a legend - probably one of the best performers of all time," Ma told AFP ahead of the gallery's opening Monday.

"We wanted to create a place where all of his fans could come to learn about the legend and look at his signature items."

Among the other glass-encased memorabilia is a shredded "Zombie" suit from Jackson's iconic Thriller video, autographed albums, Jackson's painting of Charlie Chaplin, a pair of white tube socks coated with crystals along with two signed Fedoras which the singer wore during his 1998 "History" world tour.

Walking through the Time Tunnel - a photographic history of Jackson's career - Ma said his uncle, Ponte 16's chief executive and a diehard Jackson fan, wanted the glove for his own collection.

But the 37-year-old said he suggested the hotel buy more items to create what could be the largest collection of Jackson memorabilia outside of Neverland, Jackson's California mansion.

Some visitors may be drawn to signed lyrics for We Are The World - a mid-eighties song aimed at raising money for famine-stricken African countries - while others will be dazzled by a pair of Jackson's black loafers.

But Ma figures most visitors to Macau, a former Portuguese colony returned to China in 1999, will be instantly drawn to the glittery glove.

"It's got to be the glove," he said when asked about his favourite item.

"It was part of his transforming stage from the Jackson Five into his solo career."

Asked what Jackson himself would have thought of the gallery, Ma replied: "He would love it."