The Emmy awards are given for outstanding performances on television so it might seem strange that Whitney Houston, who was not known for her television acting, won an Emmy in 1986. However, she actually won it for her musical performance at that year's Grammy awards.
Since the singer passed away the Emmy award statue has been in the possession of her estate, which now would like to sell it at auction. The estate has enlisted the services of Heritage Auctions and believes it can get $10,000 for the statue as TMZ reports in "Whitney Houston Emmy Battle Heading for Court."
It is not unusual for celebrity estates to sell off memorabilia to collectors for cash. However, this case is going to court because the Television Academy that operates the Emmy awards is seeking to block the auction. The Academy claims that every Emmy winner signs a contract that they or their heirs must return the statue to the Academy so it can be held in storage in memory of the recipient.
Aside from the fact that leaving something in storage is a strange way to honor someone, the auction house has not produced a contract with those terms signed by Houston.
The Television Academy is seeking a restraining order to prevent the auction. The auction house plans to conduct the sale unless the court intervenes.
Reference: TMZ (June 22, 2016) "Whitney Houston Emmy Battle Heading for Court."