Fans are known for their obsessive desire to own paraphernalia that celebrities have used. But Marilyn Monroe items are especially popular at auction houses due to Monroe’s widespread sex appeal and tragic overdose.
How popular? $4.8 million was the amount spent to purchase Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” dress at auction in 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
You may recognize another of her dresses from the infamous sidewalk grate scene, where Marilyn is standing over a grate and struggling to keep her dress from flying up around her. This dress sold for $4.5 million, even though experts had projected it would sell for $2 million.
The “Happy Birthday” dress, also known as the “Seven Year Itch dress” was worn by Monroe in 1962 while she sang a sexy version of the birthday song to President John F. Kennedy. This happened at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee and definitely caught the attention of every single attendee and news reporter in the room.
Monroe was a master of understanding human emotions and actively courting the imagination of the nation. For this particular outfit, she had to be sewn into the dress and it was so tight that she opted not to wear anything underneath it to achieve the perfect fit.
It makes sense that an anonymous fan would spend that much money on the dress just because Marilyn Monroe wore it. But the dress itself is also a work of art, with hand-sewn rhinestones adorning the entire gown and a gorgeously-fitted pattern. Monroe remains popular even today. Whoever owns the dress could probably sell it for even more money now, but it’s unlikely they will ever choose to part with it.