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Italian Masters and Michael Jackson

Inside Richmond’s garage sale of the century.

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Walk inside 1125 Grove Ave. and you’ll notice the Dutch portrait first. No one knows who the subject is. In the living room, an ornate green chair waits for its $6,000 price tag. Next to it, a stack of Italian master drawings depicting St. Paul and St. Anthony are wrapped in paper. The sale of Andrew Piretti’s estate is almost ready to go.

Piretti, who died in October, was a longtime Sony Music senior vice president. He lived in Richmond for about 20 years in this three-story Fan row house.

Upstairs, estate sale company owner Harry Davis tosses aside framed Celine Dion posters and a Michael Jackson tour jacket. He’s frantically looking for the real treasure, evidence of one of the World’s Most Interesting Men doing what he did best — throwing a party.

There it is: a framed rendering of Piretti’s plans for Sony Music’s 1998 Grammy Awards party. Davis, who’s opening up Piretti’s home Thursday, wants people to know that of all the items lying around the place, this rendering is one of a kind.

“If you met him on the street,” Davis says of Piretti, “it would never cross your mind that he had Michael Jackson’s cell phone number.”

Davis says guests at Piretti’s parties often had no idea he made his living planning parties for Sony Music’s top stars.

For Davis, this isn’t just another estate sale. Piretti was a friend. He was, Davis says, someone who flew around the world in a private jet collecting crystal with as much enjoyment as he received when reading to schoolchildren or cutting checks to Richmond organizations with the plea to “just keep it between us.”

“It’s difficult,” Davis says, choking up. “It’s meaningful. It’s very rewarding thinking I’m passing them on to people who will enjoy them.”

Davis notes that while one sculpture is worth $50,000 and generating interest from as far away as Saudi Arabia, there’s something here for everyone. CDs aren’t exactly hot tickets anymore and Piretti had thousands.

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TO GO

Potential buyers may arrive at 1125 Grove Ave. to take a number Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. The sale runs Thursday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Buyers will be admitted in numerical order. Information under Phoenix Estate Sales at estatesales.net.

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