If her life was like a candle in the wind, her legacy shows no sign of burnout. At an Oct. 27-28 auction at Christie’s in Manhattan, more than 100 of Marilyn Monroe’s belongings brought in a whopping $13,405,785. Among the jaw-droppers: Robert Schagrin and Peter Siegel, owners of a New York City collectibles company, bought Monroe’s copy of the Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship for $4600, and Edward Meyer of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! purchased one of her driver’s licenses for $14500. While Delta Burke spent $1250 on a monogrammed handkerchief (“I was happy to get anything,” she said), fans proved just as free with their cash as celebs. Cynthia Heileman-Young, 41, who bought a beret and necklace for $825, called herself “a housewife having an adventure.” And she has no plans to lock away her items. “I’m going to wear them,” proclaimed the Tucson, Ariz., resident. “It will be too much fun.”
Singer Mariah Carey placed the winning bid for Monroe’s white lacquered baby grand piano—which had originally belonged to Marilyn’s mother, Gladys—by phone. “I wish her things didn’t have to be auctioned off,” Carey later said. “It’s a shame—I wish somebody had the money to buy it all and put it in a museum.”
A pair of rhinestone-encrusted satin stilettos by Salvatore Ferragamo were bought by the designer’s widow Wanda and son Massimo, who plan to put them in the family’s shoe museum in Florence. “It’s like having my father and Marilyn together,” said Massimo.
“I love Marilyn Monroe,” said designer Tommy Hilfiger, explaining why he splurged on the jeans she wore in 1954’s River of No Return and the cowboy boots she donned in ’61’s The Misfits. Besides, he added, “I’m going to use them as inspiration for my collections. I may put my name on them—I’m known to do that.”
THREE PAIRS OF JEANS $42,550
Outbid on the piano, actress Virginia Madsen opted for two Louis XV tables.
BEDSIDE TABLES $9,775
This platinum wedding ring with 34 diamonds—given to Monroe by Joe DiMaggio—was estimated to have a value of $3000-$5000. The anonymous winning bidder obviously thought it was worth a bit more.
Aspiring chef Nicole Martin, 23, said she planned to make “one big celebration dinner” with her new cookware, and “then they’ll go in a glass case.”
POTS & PANS $25,300
Edward Meyer of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! took home this makeup cart and the sweater A Monroe wore for a famous George Barris beach photo shoot.
MAKE UP $266,500
Robert Schagrin and Peter Siegel took home the most expensive piece, the dress Monroe wore to sing “Happy Birthday” to JFK in ’62. Despite offers to buy it from them, they said they plan eventually to display it.
THE DRESS $1,267,500