Marilyn Monroe brought a touch of glamour to the Louisville Slugger Museum on Saturday (November 13), as a signed photo of her from the personal collection of Joe DiMaggio broke its estimate to sell for $63,250.
Nestled in amongst the signed bats, home-run balls and used jerseys of the baseball memorabilia auction, the photo of Monroe was a clear hit with collectors and a strong reminder of the relationship between two of Americas most enduring cultural icons.
DiMaggio and Monroe were originally married in 1954, but the marriage ended just 274 days later when she filed for divorce citing 'mental cruelty'. Years later the two were reunited as friends following her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller, and DiMaggio proposed again on August 1 1962.
Sadly she was found dead four days later, but DiMaggio's love for her was so strong he had a half-dozen red roses delivered three times a week to her crypt for 20 years.
The photo, signed "I love you Joe, Marilyn", was reportedly one of DiMaggio's most treasured possessions and the sentimental value was certainly matched by its final price at auction as it beat its estimate of $40,000 - $50,000.
Monroe's memorabilia is some of the most sought-after on the market. The dress she wore whilst serenading 'Mr President' JFK sold at auction in 1999 for $1,267,500 (still a World Record), and more recently an x-ray of her chest taken in 1954 sold for an amazing $25,000.
The industry's PFC40 index shows that Monroe's signature (such as this unique example available here) has increased in price by 128.8% over the last ten years, and items with a personal connection to her (such as the DiMaggio photograph) have risen by much more.
As a cultural icon she has proven to have a timeless quality that will endure for generations. And for collectors looking for some glamour along with a solid return, it's hard to go wrong with a little Monroe magic.
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