February 1, 2006
What would you do if you came across plaques and trophies that belonged to a famous person? Only News 12 has the story of a woman that stumbled upon some of James Brown’s most prized valuables. We’re there as the Godfather of Soul takes a stroll down memory lane.
Joe Testino didn’t realize that a box in his grandmother’s attic was a pot of gold.
“They are worth an absolute fortune,” Joe said. “We started pulling it out, it was really a historical march of Mr. Brown’s life from 1965-1969 when he was really involved in the Civil Rights Movement which I didn’t know.”
It was a box full of James Brown’s plaques and trophies. It was the beginning of his fame. It was 30 years ago. He’d just moved out of his Walton Way Extension home. But before he could get everything, things were sold at a yard sale. Josie Testino remembers stumbling upon the box.
“They were sold for very little and I purchased what I could and I have the trophies today,” Josie said.
James Brown remembers when people doubted him.
“They closed their eyes and the fact that a local boy had become the world’s biggest artist,” James Brown said.
But Josie Testino knew she had a gold mine. She kept the items for over 30 years.
“I do have his ruffle shirt he used to wear and his trophies,” Josie said.
She offered Brown the items back. But instead of taking them, James Brown thanked Testino for keeping them and had only one request.
“I want you to put them into different institutions around the world,” Brown said.
And from a plaque from the Paine College Alumni Association in 1969 to the 1966 picture of James Brown with members of the NAACP to the technical certificate in vocal music, they are all treasures that are priceless according to Testino.
“When people love you you can’t buy love so money can’t be a part of us, this lady here is a part of my heart,” Brown said.
The Testino family say they have decided to place the plaques and trophies in different places throughout the world. James Brown continues to be the hardest working man in show business. In a couple of days he leaves for a month long tour of Asia, Australia and New Zealand.