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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 April, 2005, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Carson microphone makes $50,000
Johnny Carson with microphone on Tonight Show
Auctioneers said the prop was "an important piece of Americana"
A microphone that sat on late TV host Johnny Carson's Tonight Show desk in the 1960s and 70s has been bought by an anonymous bidder for $50,787 (27,597).

The microphone was an ever-present prop for Carson, who hosted the talk show for 30 years and died in January at 79.

It was sold on Friday by Heritage Galleries in Dallas, Texas, and went for around twice the estimated price.

"It's an unbelievable price," said auctioneer John Petty. "A mic like this has never come to auction before."

"We were thinking: 'Gee, what would a Carson fan pay for this?'."

Good working order

The microphone was salvaged by chief boom operator Stan Sweeney when crew members were told they could "take a memento or two" during technical upgrades in the 1980s.

The microphone still has the words "Johnny's mic... not Ed's... not Fred's..." on a label - a reference to co-host Ed McMahon and producer Fred de Cordova.

Mr Petty said the microphone was still in good working order.

Heritage Galleries plan to auction Carson's desk later in the year.

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