How Marilyn, Grinch Stole Auction

A handwritten letter scrawled in pencil by a teenage Marilyn Monroe sold for $43,125 at an auction, and a book dealer paid $17,250 for a typewritten manuscript about a greedy Grinch stealing Christmas. The high bid for the letter — written by 16-year-old Norma Baker Dougherty, later known as Marilyn Monroe — came from an anonymous telephone bidder and easily surpassed its estimated presale value of $20,000 to $30,000, said Sotheby’s New York spokeswoman Emma Cunningham. The five-page letter, full of spelling and grammatical errors, was signed “Norma Jeane.” Cunningham, who said Sotheby’s authenticated the handwriting, could not explain why Jeane contains an extra “e.” (Most Monroe memorabilia gives the spelling as Jean.) The letter was addressed to her guardian, Grace McKee Goddard, and described her excitement at the prospect of meeting her biological father. “Golly I just hope that he will want to see me,” she wrote. It is unclear if the meeting ever took place, Cunningham said.

  • James Cummins, a Manhattan book dealer, said he snatched up a deal with the manuscript of Theodor Geisel’s holiday classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” valued before the sale at between $15,000 and $25,000. “It was a coup,” a delighted Cummins said.
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