The family of Patrick Swayze are at odds over an upcoming auction of the late star's memorabilia.

While his widow Lisa Niemi sanctioned the two-day sale at Julien's auction house in Los Angeles, his niece, Danielle Swayze, said the items, which include his Dirty Dancing leather jacket and a Ghost shirt, should remain in the family.

Niemi admitted she had mixed feelings about the sale. "One is tremendous excitement. I hope it goes incredibly well and Patrick is very proud," she said.

"I kind of dread it too. No matter what, it's still a letting-go. There's always a little bit of loss associated with that.

"While it's a very positive thing to do, it's a difficult thing to do."

The actor's niece has launched an online petition to stop the sale. It has attracted 1,500 signatures.

"You cannot put a price on memories," the petition states. It insists that the memorabilia should be returned to "the only people who would truly cherish these items – his family".

Among the items are a leather jacket worn by Swayze in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, which carries an estimated sale price of $4,000-$6,000, and a red shirt and a pair of shoes from the hit drama Ghost.

Swayze died of pancreatic cancer in 2009 at the age of 57. Some of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Sky News reports.

Niemi and Swayze married in 1975 and remained together until his death. She has since remarried.