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Rock 'n' Roll IOU: IRS Auctioning Off Musical Memorabilia Trove

The IRS is auctioning off a mystery trove of rock 'n' roll and movie memorabilia on Thursday, including boots once worn by KISS’s Gene Simmons.
Image: FILE: KISS Awarded Arena Football Expansion Team
Gene Simmons of rock group Kiss performs live on stage at The Kentish Town Forum on July 4, 2012 in London, England. Jim Dyson / Getty Images

Kiss those boots goodbye.

A treasure trove of rock 'n' roll and movie memorabilia seized by the IRS from a mysterious well-heeled collector — including a pair of snakeskin platform boots once worn by KISS star Gene Simmons — is going on the auction block on Thursday.

Other items going under the hammer in Overland Park, Kansas, are as varied and exotic as the long black leather jacket that Brandon Lee wore in “The Crow,” an album cover autographed by the Jimi Hendrix, a pair of rocker Lita Ford's jeans, a Madonna print and guitars autographed by legendary axe men Joe Walsh and Zakk Wylde.

Snake boots (L) and silver boots (R) that used to belong to Gene Simmons.IRS

There’s even a guitar autographed by Black Sabbath singer Ozzy Osbourne, who doesn’t play guitar — at least not on stage with the iconic heavy metal band.

Just who amassed the rocking collection remains a mystery. And the IRS, which seized it for nonpayment of taxes and has set a starting bid at $15,495 for the entire lot, isn’t telling.

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“Information about the taxpayers is protected under provisions of the Internal Revenue Code,” Michael Devine, an IRS spokesman based in St. Louis, Missouri, said via email.

A guitar signed by rocker Ozzy Osbourne.IRS

Section 6103 of the code, to be precise.

Among the biggest items up for auction is what the IRS described as a 10-piece drum set “used by” the thrash metal band Anthrax.

But Heidi Robinson, a publicist for the band, said Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante checked the photo supplied by the IRS and cannot vouch for the drum kit’s authenticity.

“He saw the photo of the one drum that was posted, and he said that drum was never owned or used by Anthrax,” Robinson said in an email to NBC News.

But Simmons’ spokeswoman Dawn Miller said the boots in the collection — one pair snakeskin, the other silver, apparently worn by KISS guitarist Ace Frehley — are legit.

“They are Gene’s old shoes,” she wrote in an email.

Also up for auction is a piece of “No More Censorship” art work that once belonged to Jello Biafra, the lead singer of The Dead Kennedys” a button-pushing punk rock band best known for the song “Holiday in Cambodia.”

Jesse Townley, who works for Biafra’s production company Alternative Tentacles, suspects it’s a piece by Winston Smith, who created the band’s iconic logo.

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But like the other band reps contacted by NBC News, Townley could not say how it wound-up in in this collection or who the owner was.

The IRS is accepting bids on the entire collection as well as on individual items. And they’ll go with whichever bid or bids will yield the most money for the government.

Bidding begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday at the Double Tree Hotel in Overland Park. Potential buyers can scope out the stuff on Wednesday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and in the two hours before bidding starts.