The Story of... The collectibles of Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy

Marilyn Monroe's last significant public appearance singing "Happy Birthday, Mr President" to JFK, 48 years ago, still fascinates people today as it did back then.

The blonde starlet sang before President John F Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. Unsurprisingly, the reverberations of her performance are still felt on memorabilia auction blocks.

That evening, Monroe wore a dress specially designed and made for her by Jean Louis. The same dress sold for a whopping $1.26m at auction in 1999.

The dress is now listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive piece of clothing ever sold - and it is worth a lot more now.

Of course, the flames of collectors' fascination are also stoked by persisting rumours that Monroe had an affair with Kennedy in the 1960s - and later with his brother, Robert Kennedy.

These allegations didn't actually reach the mainstream press until the 1970s, by which time Kennedy and Monroe were both deceased and already immortalised as American icons.

Published materials speculating on the affair include a 1964 pamphlet by investigator Frank Cappell, The Strange Death of Marilyn Monroe, and journalist Anthony Summers biography of FBI Director J Edgar Hoover.

It is generally held that Monroe called the White House frequently, was possibly in love with him, and that married Kennedy eventually broke off the affair.

Evidence of this was borne out by a piece of memorabilia dated to the week following her "Happy Birthday, Mr President" performance.

The gold Rolex watch believed to have been sent by Marilyn Monroe to JFK, inscribed "Jack, with love as always from Marilyn May 29th 1962."

Kennedy reportedly told a White House aide to "get rid of it." The Rolex later sold for $120,000 at auction.



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