Aug 19, 2013

Marilyn Monroe JFK Birthday Gown Sold For $1.26 Million

Marilyn Monroe JFK Birthday Gown Sold For $1.26 Million, Marilyn Monroe's form-fitting, flesh-colored dress--a sequined stunner she wore to serenade President Kennedy on his birthday--sold in 1999 for a record $1.26 million.

The dress, worn by Monroe during her breathless "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to JFK in 1962, was the highest-priced item at the first session of a two-day Manhattan auction.

The crowd cheered loudly when the winning bid, from the Manhattan-based company Gotta Have It! Collectibles, was announced. It set a record for an auctioned dress, obliterating the $222,500 paid for an ink blue Princess Diana gown sold in 1997.

Asked why he spent a small fortune on the dress, company co-owner Robert Schargin told reporters: "Because it wasn't $3 million, which we thought it was worth. . . . We stole it." He bid $1.15 million; with the house commission, he paid $1,267,500.

Buyers snapped up everything from her blue jeans and boots to screenplays, most at prices far beyond the predictions of auction house Christie's. Bikini bottoms were to be sold today. The total take for about 50 items auctioned was $5.6 million.

The bidding for the dress she barely wore at JFK's May 19, 1962, birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden culminated in a wild 2 1/2-minute showdown. Made of silk souffle gauze and covered with 6,000 rhinestone beads and sequins, the Jean Louis dress originally cost $12,000.

Monroe died in 1962 of an overdose of sleeping pills at 36.

Another dress--a full-length black sequined evening dress, believed to have been worn to entertain U.S. soldiers in Korea in 1954--sold for $112,000. The previous high price was $57,000 for a dress she wore in the 1953 film "How to Marry a Millionaire."

Designer Tommy Hilfiger paid $42,550 for three pairs of Monroe's jeans, and $85,000 for the cowgirl boots she wore in "The Misfits."