The Quick 10: The Price of 10 Pieces of Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia

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You might have heard it in the news today: Marilyn Monroe, had she not died of “acute barbiturate poisoning” in 1962, would have been 85. Despite the fact that she died nearly half a century ago, Norma Jeane Baker continues to captivate her fans to this day. The evidence is in the price people have paid for the smallest pieces of Marilyn memorabilia.

1. Her bra - $5,200. In 2009, an unidentified bidder from Hong Kong ponied up to own one of Marilyn’s beauty secrets - a sling-strapped bra that was rigged to give the illusion that she wasn’t wearing one at all.

2. Her false eyelashes - $3,125. Sold just last month, there’s evidence that the lashes were worn since there’s traces of lash glue on them and the glue that came with her eyelash kit is missing.

3. A melon baller - $1,536. And “melon baller” isn’t a euphemism. I suppose that’s a bargain considering that the kitchen utensil was probably in mint condition - can you really see Marilyn Monroe sculpting perfect spheres of watermelon and honeydew for a gathering at her house? Me neither.

4. Divorce papers from Joe DiMaggio - $4,800.

The one-page “Final Judgment of Divorce” was sold at Julien’s Auctions in 2005. Oddly, a copy of her Last Will & Testament went for the exact same price at the same auction.

5. A watercolor painting of a single red rose - $78,000. Why such a hefty price tag? Because it was painted by Marilyn and inscribed to none other than JFK. It was signed twice - once in blue ink that read “Happy Birthday Pres. Kennedy from Marilyn Monroe” and once in black ink reading “"Happy Birthday June 1, 1962/My Best Wishes/Marilyn/Marilyn."

6. The “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” dress - $1.26 million. In 1999, the infamous flesh-colored dress that Marilyn had to be sewn into sold for a pretty penny. Time magazine even named it the “most Expensive Piece of Clothing.”

7. The pink satin gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - $319,000. She sang it while singing one of her most famous numbers, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” It sold to a private collector last year.

8. A 1954 chest X-Ray - $45,000. I think this is sad, actually - Marilyn couldn’t even go to a doctor without fearing that he would sell his findings.

9. Her psychiatrist’s couch - $2,625. A $150 check made out to her shrink and signed by Marilyn, however, went for $7,425.

10. The iconic Seven Year Itch dress, also known as “the Subway dress.” You know the one - the white, billowing, pleated number with a deep v-neck that inspired the imaginations of men everywhere? It’s due to be sold on June 18 as part of Debbie Reynolds’ amazing collection of Hollywood costumes (more on that in a future Q10). It’s currently expected to fetch up to $2 million - we’ll keep you posted.

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June 1, 2011 - 7:46pm
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