Elton John's Photo Goes for $900,000

Is Elton John's (search) fortune going multimedia? The British pop star, who usually makes his living tickling the ivories, netted $900,000 Thursday night by auctioning off a collection of photographs taken by some of the world's most famous photographers.

The top earner was a 1988 black-and-white Robert Mapplethorpe (search) photo of a vase holding white tulips, netting $83,650, said Rik Pike, a spokesman for auction house Christie's New York.

A 1950 Irving Penn photograph of his wife, Swedish model Lisa Fonssagrives (search), took in $57,360, Pike said. A 1942 Ansel Adams photograph of the Grand Teton mountains in Wyoming sold for $43,020.

In all, 73 of 78 photos offered were sold, many for well above presale estimates. All auction prices included Christie's 19.5 percent commission.

John began collecting photographs in 1991 and had what Christie's called one of the leading private collections in the world.

John is, of course, better known for his multiple musical hits, such as "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Rocket Man (I Think it's Going to be a Long, Long Time)," "Bennie and the Jets," and "Tiny Dancer."