For MJ ticket holders: Refund or collectible?

LONDON - More than 750,000 Michael Jackson fans can get full refunds for the pop star's canceled 50-night "This is It" concert extravaganza - or opt to receive souvenir tickets instead, the promoters announced yesterday.

In a move that could help recoup some of its losses from the ill-fated tour, Los Angeles-based AEG Live said that fans could choose to receive the actual tickets, which it said feature graphics "inspired and designed" by Jackson himself.

Images of the tickets, complete with a 3-D effect, can be viewed on the Web site www.MichaelJackson Live.com beginning tomorrow, AEG said in a statement. Fans have until Aug. 14 to take the ticket offer.

For those opting for a refund, all service charges paid to authorized ticket sellers will be included, the statement said.

Fans spent more than $90 million on tickets, which were priced between $82 and $124, though some went for hundreds of dollars on Internet auction sites.

AEG Live may be counting on die-hard fans to want to hold onto their tickets as bittersweet reminders of what might have been - or to cash in later should they become collector's items. Many did just that after Elvis Presley died in 1977.

Jackson's death has left AEG Live, which operates the 02 Arena where the pop star was to have performed, with a colossal problem. In addition to the money taken in by ticket sales, which must be refunded, the company had already paid Jackson millions and spent millions more getting ready for the planned July 13 premiere - not to mention that one of the city's biggest arenas has been left with 50 open nights. *