The 10 most iconic screen costumes revealed

Marilyn Monroe's floaty white "subway dress" from A Seven Year Itch has been voted the most iconic screen-worn costume of all time.

Marilyn Monroe dress
The most iconic, and valuable, screen-worn outfit

The poll, conducted by the British Heart Foundation, makes for fascinating reading. Here's the top 10:

1.       Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" from The Seven Year Itch (1955)

2.       Judy Garland's ruby slippers and gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz (1939)

3.       Olivia Newton-John's leather black trousers and red mules from Grease (1978)

4.       Ursula Andress' white bikini from Dr No (1962)

5.       Audrey Hepburn's black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

6.       Baywatch swimming costume (female) (1989-2001)

7.       Michael Jackson's red leather Thriller suit (1983)

8.       Jessica Rabbit's red dress from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

9.       Julia Roberts' white and denim dress and red coat from Pretty Woman (1990)

10.   Grace Kelly's black and white gown from Rear Window (1954)

Notice anything?

If you follow the memorabilia market closely, you'll know many of these pieces have sold for substantial sums in recent years:

·         Marilyn Monroe's "subway dress" realised $5.6m in 2011 - a movie memorabilia record

·         One of several Judy Garland-worn dresses from her most famous film made $480,000 in 2012

·         Ursula Andress' white bikini made �41,125 (69,000) in 2001

·         Audrey Hepburn's black dress sold for �467,200 ($923,187) in 2006

·         Pamela Anderson's Baywatch swimming costume auctioned for $3,000 in 2009

·         Michael Jackson's red leather Thriller jacket sold for $1.8m in 2011

·         The designs for Grace Kelly's Rear Window gown made �8,125 ($12,821) in 2010

All of which shows there is a direct correlation between the costumes the public deems "most famous" (to use the now ubiquitous meaning of "iconic") and their value at auction.

Which makes perfect sense. The more suitors you have fighting over an item, the higher the price will go.

Ursula Andress bikini
Ursula sets pulses racing in 1962

Now, not everybody has the wealth to invest in one of these costumes from the top 10.

Yet savvy investment-minded collectors can use this list to inspire their buying, regardless of budget, and regardless of sector.

Think "famous or "infamous"

Think "famous" or "infamous" to guide your collecting. For example, what are the most famous or infamous events of the past 100 or so years? The sinking of the Titanic, the assassination of John F Kennedy, and the Apollo 11 Moon landings are a few that come immediately to mind. Historically important items connected with these events make for valuable collectibles, and should continue to do so.

How about the most famous sports stars? Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and Pele are three names that jump out. Their memorabilia can sell for considerable sums.

Once you start thinking in these terms, you can really narrow your focus on the pieces that will have most appeal to others, and are therefore bona fide investment propositions.

By way of a final example, let me finish by considering the three most famous royals of all time.

I would say Henry VIII, Queen Victoria and Princess Diana. Lo and behold, their memorabilia is the most sought after and valuable on the royal memorabilia market  - the dress Princess Diana wore while dancing with John Travolta at the White House sold for �240,000 ($362,563) last year.

And the great thing is, none of these markets require an enormous outlay to get involved. In fact, this Princess Diana handwritten note is just �3,950 (approx. $6,650).

Thanks for reading,


PS. You can see all our movie autographs for sale here.

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