Collection of 15,000 Jim Bakker Videotapes to be Auctioned

An Atlanta investment banker is auctioning off more than 15,000 videotaped episodes of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's iconic Christian talk show.

"The PTL Club," which aired from 1974 to 1987, featured Jim Bakker offering upbeat sermons from a couch and Tammy Faye, wearing her trademark heavy mascara, singing about Jesus. Most episodes were taped at their empire -- which included a hotel, campground and theme park -- just south of Charlotte.

PTL, which stood for "Praise The Lord," came crashing down in 1987 when Jim Bakker went to prison for fraud after a sex scandal. The couple divorced and Tammy Faye remarried and changed her last name to Messner. She died in 2007 from colon cancer.

The 15,069 hourlong tapes went to a Charlotte church, then a cable content provider, said Ben Dyer, president of Gospel Properties.

The cable provider defaulted on a loan from Dyer's company and he got the tapes, which he plans to auction in San Francisco on March 27.

A spokeswoman for Jim Bakker, who now lives in Branson, Mo., said the televangelist has been told the tapes have been appraised at around $8 million. He considers them part of his legacy.

The tapes provide enough content to create a channel exclusively showing "The PTL Club," said Dean Becker, vice chairman of Ocean Tomo, the Chicago-based merchant bank handling the auction.

And, Dyer pointed out, the audience already knows about PTL's fall.

"People can watch these shows knowing how their story ended," he said. "It makes them even more intriguing to watch."