Why Former Miss America, Who Was Crowned in 1958, Is Auctioning Off Her Crown

Marilyn Van Derbur is selling her crown and its matching bracelet to the highest bidder

Marilyn Van Derbur
Photo: PhotoQuest/Getty

After six decades, Marilyn Van Derbur is bestowing her Miss America crown upon someone else.

The crown, which Van Derbur won in 1958, is currently being sold by Heritage Auctions to raise money for teachers in Colorado. The bidding starts at $20,000.

This marks the first time that a Miss America crown has ever been auctioned, according to the auction house.

In a statement on the crown's listing, Van Derbur said that she was compelled to sell her prize "because of the unexpected expenses needed for COVID protections."

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Marilyn Van Derbur
NBCU Photo Bank

"It's one of my most prized possessions," Van Derbur told The Washington Post, admitting that she rarely removes it from storage. "Anyone who knows a Miss America knows that a crown is the most special thing that she would personally own."

In addition to the Swarovski crystal-adorned crown, Van Derbur is also auctioning the matching "crown motif" bracelet she was presented at the pageant.

The bracelet is made of the same material as the crown, and it is the "only known Miss America bracelet in existence," according to the auction listing.

David Talarico, owner of Schoppy's jeweler in New Jersey, reportedly told the former pageant queen that her items — which were crafted by his grandfather William Schoppy — could sell for as much as $40,000.

The crown and bracelet set are "the only one I've ever seen," he told the Washington Post. "I'm not sure why it was so rare and fleeting. I can't believe she has it."

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