Buyers target hats worn by Franklin at sales event

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) - November 19, 2011

Hats were big draws at a sales event attended Saturday by several hundred people in Livonia, according to sales distributor Jill Pendergast.

"A lot of people found a lot of items," Pendergast said. "Somebody wanted T-shirts that had been stained up. Some people just came for blue jeans. Some people were looking for just shoes.

"They just kept coming in and going out," she said.

One of Franklin's gowns sold for $550.

Pendergast would not say who currently owned the items or how much was raised by the sale which ran from 9 a.m. to about 5 p.m. in a store west of Detroit.

Franklin has said she has no connection to the sale. The Grammy Award-winning artist said the items were left many years ago in a storage locker because she no longer wanted them.

Franklin's choice in headwear has been a hot topic in recent years.

A gray, felt hat with a Swarovski rhinestone-bordered bow she wore while singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration drew widespread attention and prompted hundreds of calls to the Detroit millinery shop where the hat was made.

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