'Collectible celebrity memorabilia dresses are proving successful in 2011's final quarter'

As 2011 draws to a close, celebrity wardrobes are spilling out into the collectibles markets....

Recently, we reported on the upcoming sale of Bette Midler's private collection comprising Oscar awards ceremony dresses and stage costumes.

And, yesterday, Kerry Taylor announced her upcoming sale of an iconic dress worn by the tragic late UK soul singer Amy Winehouse. You can see the dress on the cover of her classic Back to Black album.

Amy Winehouse's dress is estimated at $32,054 (proceeds will benefit the foundation set up in her memory). It's a significant value for a dress linked to a contemporary, rather than decades-old, icon.

Perhaps it could sell for even more. Bear in mind that Kate Middleton's dress brought £78,000 (roughly $125,317) when it sold at Kerry Taylor, earlier this year...

The buyer of that dress was Nicky Gainsborough Roberts, nephew of the esteemed collector David Gainsborough Roberts (who we interviewed back in March).



The chiffon dress worn by Amy Winehouse for the cover of her ‘Back to
Black' LP, 2006

David had never considered collecting dresses until he spotted a Monroe gown at a 1993 Christie's auction. Perhaps other collectors will be tempted to enter the dress markets for the first time over the coming months?

I'd say that dresses, alongside jewellery, are the most iconic pieces linked to female icons. (Male icons, in comparison, often have 'boys' own' pieces attached to them like Rolex watches or classic cars.)

To get an idea of how well these markets are doing, just look at recent auction values.

An under-reported recent sale was the auctioning of a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe is her classic film, The River of No Return. It brought a cool $504,000.

What's more, the dress sold in Asia's gambling mecca Macau - further evidence of the region's growing love of high-end movie memorabilia.

And, if you're a regular reader of this column, you won't need me to tell you about the sale of Marilyn Monroe's Seven Year Itch dress, earlier this year.

It auctioned from the Debbie Reynolds Collection for a World Record $5.6m. (You may remember that I was one of the underbidders.)

You can expect plenty more collectibles successes in 2012.

Other upcoming treats from Kerry Taylor include the auction of, not one, but two Liz Taylor gowns. One is a simple Chanel shift dress with matching jacket in rich textured, gold brocatelle (estimated at £10,000-15,000).

The other is the famous 'Sari' gown designed for her by Cristobal Balenciaga (estimated at £30,000-£50,000).


Dorothy Stratten cocktail dress

Paul Fraser Collectibles presently has this dress for sale worn by the
tragic Playmate Dorothy Stratten - it's priced at just a fraction of most
celebrity dresses on the collectors' markets: £995

Each of these Liz Taylor dresses offers a slightly different angle to what makes a celebrity dress appealing. Rather than having been used in film roles, both gowns are noteworthy for their personal significance to Taylor (you can read Kerry Taylor's explanation about them here).

Even better, you don't need to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to get involved in these markets.

At Paul Fraser Collectibles, we are among the high-end dealers to have invested in celebrity dresses.

Our stock includes a gown worn by model and actress Dorothy Stratten. The former Playboy star was murdered by her estranged husband Paul Snider in 1980, the same year she had been crowned Playmate of the Year.

The Stratten dress is priced at just £995. Like all the best collectibles, celebrity dresses offer options to you even if you're on a limited budget.

And, take it from me, these markets are hot right now.

To find out more about how you can benefit celebrity dresses, view our special investment guide pages. Or contact our experts for a free consultation at:

+44 (0) 117 933 9500


Until next week,



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