David Gainsborough Roberts to sell $15m memorabilia collection

Renowned collector David Gainsborough Roberts has decided to sell his lifetime memorabilia collection, including items from the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler, reports the BBC.

Roberts describes the moment he made his first Marilyn Monroe purchase in 1991 as "a day that changed my life"

The 70-year-old collector has gathered a world-class collection worth $15m that spans a range of subjects, with a particular focus on Marilyn Monroe. He has said the auction will be held to coincide with Monroe's 90th birthday in 2016.

His Monroe collection, thought to be the world's largest, includes the red sequined gown worn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the green show costume from Bus Stop and the cocktail dress from Some Like it Hot.

"I have been collecting for many years, I'm 70 years of age now, I don't have a wife and children so I thought I must sell things," Gainsborough Roberts told the BBC, explaining that proceeds from the sale will benefit charities based in Jersey, including the Jersey Heritage Trust.

"I love Jersey, I have been here since 1964, it is where I grew up and am in the same house I've been in all these years. When I pop off I would like to give something back to Jersey which has been kind to me. I have a lot of friends here and would like some of them to benefit from what I've got."

Among the historical items due to be sold is a gun owned by Billy the Kid, as well as artworks by Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler.

"I have got pieces signed by Adolf Hitler to his wife, I have a lot of her stuff and a lot of things she left to her sister. Fascinating, interesting things of the most evil regime, I'm not a fascist but they fascinate me because they were so evil."

Despite the extraordinary breadth of his collection, Gainsborough Roberts does have some regrets: "I should have concentrated on one subject, then I would be a great authority on that subject, but I started with Marilyn then theatrical things, royalty, Churchill, Third Reich items.

"I should have concentrated more. I have got a lot of big things out there which I hope people will love and buy," he said.

Read our exclusive interview with David Gainsborough Roberts on Paul Fraser Collectibles.

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