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Marilyn mania surpasses $13 million at auction

Makeup case big seller on day No. 2

Monroe's makeup case and contents sold for $240,000  

October 28, 1999
Web posted at: 11:14 p.m. EDT (0314 GMT)

In this story:

Kennedy-connected dress draws top dollar

Catalogs to collectors


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Because they had been touched by a screen goddess, prices soared toward the heavens Thursday for a makeup case, lingerie and other items once owned by Marilyn Monroe on the final day of the sale at Christie's.

The auction house said sales totaled $13,405,785.

Browse through some of the Marilyn Monroe items on the auction block

A traveling case containing several lipsticks, eyeshadows and eyeliners, which could not have cost the glamorous movie star more than a few dollars, sold for $240,000.

Who would pay that much? Ripley's Believe It or Not -- believe it or not.

"It was the most personal thing in the whole collection," said the organization's Edward Meyer. "It screamed Marilyn."

The price for Monroe's driver's license was $130,000, minus the commission paid to Christie's.

Everything from coasters, plastic cups and photographs of her dogs were up for bid. Even her lingerie went on the auction block, with a set of her bustiers selling for $40,000.

Personal, ordinary and glamorous items were all part of the two day auction.

Kennedy-connected dress draws top dollar

Monroe's bustiers sold for $40,000  

The biggest ticket item came on the first day. The flesh- toned, silk evening gown, encrusted with 6,000 rhinestone beads and sequins, was worn by Monroe on the night in 1962 that she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden.

With commission, the sparkling dress had a final price tag of $1,267,500.

The late star's platinum eternity ring, encrusted with 34 baguette-cut diamonds and given to her by husband Joe DiMaggio, sold for $772,500. (The ring originally had 35 diamonds, but one was lost.)

Monroe, who committed suicide at age 36 in 1962, left most of her personal effects to her mentor and acting coach, Lee Strasberg, who died in 1982. Strasberg's widow, Anna, decided to sell the items, and Christie's said she was "thrilled" with the results.

People from all over the world attended the sale in New York. Among the bidders was a local television reporter from Nevada who legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.

"They think I'm crazy," said this new Marilyn Monroe, adding, "But trust me, I'm 100 percent there."

Catalogs to collectors

Bidding proved that devotion to Monroe still is alive and well.

The auction house sold 28,000 catalogs at $85 a pop for a cool $2.38 million; 75,000 visitors attended previews in six cities across three continents.

Proceeds from the sale of Monroe's furs will go to the World Wildlife Fund, while Literacy Partners will benefit from the sale of her books, which include many first editions.

Christie's said 1,200 people pre-registered to bid.

Correspondent Gary Tuchman and Reuters contributed to this report.

Analysis: Sentiment and Marilyn's stuff, by Gary Tuchman
October 28, 1999
Marilyn's 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' dress sells for $1.26 million
October 27, 1999
Monroe's wedding suit sells for $33,350
October 1, 1999
Fans visit Monroe's grave
August 6, 1999
Christie's previews Marilyn Monroe collection
July 27, 1999
All shook up by Elvis, Marilyn? Bid on their belongings
June 3, 1999

Christie's evening sale of the personal property of Marilyn Monroe totals $5,630,500
Official Marilyn Monroe site
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