The family of Tom Petty said on social media that they plan on “pursuing swift legal action” against an auction house, alleging the business is selling items from the artist that are “outright stolen from a secured archive.”
The auction, which appears to be currently active, includes items such as hats, boots, shirts, jackets, and shoes, according to a website for RR Auction, who is hosting the sale. One of the most notable pieces is the black-and-white striped jacket Petty wore on the “12” single for his 1978 hit, “Listen to Her Heart,” TMZ noted.
It also includes Petty’s black denim Lee “Easy Rider” jacket, which the rocker wore during a 1989 MTV Video Music Awards performance with Axl Rose for the songs “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Free Fallin’,” TMZ reported. The auction was set to end on June 22, with every item set with a starting bid of $200.
But there might be trouble for the big sale. On Wednesday, the family of Tom Petty posted a statement on Instagram saying the items were stolen, citing “prior knowledge, staff observations and documentation.” They said they would be pursuing “all available legal action for the immediate return of these items,” and asked that people refrain from bidding until the matter is settled.
“We believe RR Auction, headquartered in Boston, is offering stolen Tom Petty memorabilia with a completely false provenance inaccurate to fact and in complete denial of clear evidence they have been presented,” the family said. “They will not disclose the cosigner who has provided these items or how they were acquired. But they are clearly stolen, there is no other word for it.”
The family added: “These items have irreplaceable sentimental and educational value for the family and legacy of Tom Petty and we look forward to their safe return.”
In a statement to Robb Report, an attorney for RR Auction said the company has been cooperating with the Petty family “from the moment they reached out to us just days ago and will happily continue to do so without unnecessary hostile threats of litigation.”
“We take theft allegations such as these very seriously. Indeed, in the years I have represented the company, we have never failed to reach an amicable resolution when on the rare occasion items presented by our consignors turned out to have provenance concerns,” attorney Mark S. Zaid said. “We continue to diligently investigate this situation and have requested the Petty family to cooperate with us as well. That said, we also take seriously any defamatory allegations against our company, which has developed a stellar reputation over the last half-a-century of auctions, many of which are often in the news.”