Most Expensive Marilyn Monroe-Related Items
Thus it's fitting that perhaps the most expensive piece connected to Marilyn Monroe is her name. Rights to use her name traded hands last year for a sum said to be around $30 million. Marilyn's name remains a viable brand that still has appeal for both male and female consumers even now, decades after her death. She remains one of the top earning dead celebrities and is perhaps the top female one, captivating millions who weren't even alive when she was (see a video biography about Monroe below).
Like Michael Jackson the value of Marilyn Monroe is both as a brand and an inspiration. Perhaps the most famous Marilyn-related art are the Warhol pieces. The actress inspired many Warhol pieces and a flood of copies. In 2002, Andy Warhol's Lavender Marilyn, sold for $4,629,500 at Sotheby's. In 2007, a complete set of 10 Marilyn Monroe screenprints in colors sold for £781,600 (approximately $1.553 million) at Christie's.
The house that Marilyn Monroe died in sold for above asking price in 2010. The home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles was listed at $3.595 million but sold for $3.85 million after being on the market for a brief amount of time. It's not clear if the home was bought because Marilyn once lived there or if the new buyer simply liked the house.
Last year Marilyn Monroe's pink satin gown sold for $319,000.The strapless gown that she wore to sing the song Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" was auctioned off as part of the Profiles In History auction featuring Hollywood memorabilia. The gown was worn by Marilyn as the gold-digging Lorelei Lee in the scene which was later copied by Madonna for her "Material Girl" video. But this amount didn't even come close to the price for the famous beaded gown she wore to sing Happy Birthday for John F. Kennedy, that went for $1,267,500 at auction at Christie's in 1999. Julien's Auctions has sold a variety of Marilyn Monroe items over the years such as her bathrobe which went for $120,000 in 2009. In 2010 her x-rays sold for $45,000.
In 2005, another JFK collectible, a gold Rolex given to President John F. Kennedy with the inscription "Jack with love as always from Marilyn" sold for $120,000 by Alexander Autographs and also came with a poem at the bottom of the case titled "A Heartfelt Plea on Your Birthday" and ending with "Let me love or let me die!" The watch was given to a top-level Kennedy aide, who was told by the President to get rid of it.
Marilyn Monroe photographs have done particularly well at auction. The incredibly photogenic star posed for thousands of shots. The one shown above by Richard Avedon, sold at Christies for $231,491 last year, a tribute to both the enduring power of Avedon and of Marilyn's image. Images from "The Last Sitting" a group of photographs taken by Bert Stern for Vogue before her death sold for nearly $150,000 at Christie's in 2008. Those images express some of the most alluring and poignant parts of what makes Marilyn memorable, highlighting her beauty, her playfulness but also her vulnerability. It is this unique combination of qualities that have kept the public forever fascinated.