Special report: Celebrity scandal and the collectibles markets

Lance Armstrong is being wiped from the record books. His major sponsors have dropped him. He'll never be allowed to participate in a UCI-sanctioned bike race again.

Is this the end for his memorabilia?

Not so fast.

Take a look at these examples to see how a spot of infamy and intrigue can enhance the value of a celebrity's collectibles no end.

The Marilyn Monroe and JFK affair


Their alleged affair offers even greater intrigue to the already buoyant Marilyn Monroe collectibles market.

Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday Mr President" at New York's Madison Square Garden in May 1962 is an iconic moment - made all the more so by the underlying romantic storyline that may, or may not have been occurring at the same time.

It goes a long way to explaining why the rhinestone dress she wore that night sold for $1.3m in 1999.

And the rumours have done nothing to adversely affect JFK's or Monroe's collectibles as a whole. Handwritten letters by the president have gained in value by 12.37% pa since 2000, while Monroe's autograph is up 7.14% pa during the same time frame.

Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII­

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson

Edward's abdication of the throne to marry an American divorcee caused scandal in the 1930s.

Charismatic and manipulative, the public's fascination with Simpson endures, as seen by the £8m ($12.4m) sale of her jewellery collection at Sotheby's in 2010, which smashed the £3m estimate.

The UK's Telegraph newspaper recently wrote: "Either she, or an actress impersonating her, has been on almost as many front pages in the last year as she was at the height of her infamy in 1936.

"There has been an explosion of interest in her: From William Boyd's bestselling novel, Any Human Heart, recently adapted for television, to Caroline Blackwood's book, The Last of the Duchess, transformed into a critically acclaimed stage play".

Christine Keeler

Christine Keeler

The affair of John Profumo, the British secretary of state for war, and Christine Keeler, the alleged mistress of a Soviet spy, was huge news in the early 1960s.

She went from being a little known showgirl to one of the world's most photographed women overnight.

Her name still resonates will collectors today. Platinum prints of her famous sitting for photographer Lewis Morley have achieved as much as £22,800 ($36,750) at auction.

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton

Liz Taylor and Richard Burton

Richard Burton and Liz Taylor first met on the stage in 1962. What followed was a tempestuous love affair that would see the break up of both their marriages, causing even the Vatican to pronounce their relationship as "an affront to morality".

Yet the public loved it. And they're still fascinated today.

Taylor's jewellery collection became the most valuable ever auctioned when it sold for $115.9m last year, while a cape she wore in Cleopatra almost trebled its estimate when it made $59,375 in March.

Earlier this month Forbes announced that Taylor had been the world's top earning dead celebrity in the previous 12 months.

Lance Armstrong?

Lance Armstrong

Once a niche sporting hero, could it be that the drug taking revelations will enhance the value of Lance Armstrong's collectibles over the long term, now that his name has gained worldwide prominence?

Stranger things have happened…

As the story of the man who allegedly doped his way to seven Tour de France victories gains folklore status, we will be watching keenly.

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