Greta Garbo signed photograph to beat $15,000?

A circa 1927 signed photograph of golden age actress Greta Garbo will cross the block at RR Auction with an estimate of $15,000 and up.

It's part of the sale of producer Tom Gregory's famous collection of signed photos from the stars of early Hollywood, which runs from December 8-15.

Greta Garbo usually refused to sign autographs

The lot is inscribed to Eva von Berne, an aspiring actress from Austria who was cast in a silent film alongside Garbo in the late 1920s.  

Studio heads believed the totally untrained von Berne would be the next big thing, although her inability to speak English or act convincingly meant otherwise.     

RR Auction explains: "After much fanfare and publicity, von Berne was cast opposite John Gilbert—Garbo's beau—in the 1928 film The Masks of the Devil.

"Despite respectable reviews, von Berne was soon sent back to Europe with no Hollywood future to look forward to.

"Before leaving, she was able to meet Garbo, her idol, and received this inscribed photograph."

Garbo was notoriously publicity shy and almost never signed autographs. She used to burn fan mail and requests for signatures by the sack full.

As a result, most of those signatures available on the market are on cheques and other official documents.

Signed photographs are particularly rare. Another sold for $17,909 at RR Auction in 2004.

The autograph has double appeal due to its link to von Berne. Masks of the Devil is lost to the ages, so we have no idea what she was like onscreen.

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