DALLAS – The only known photograph of Marilyn Monroe inscribed to Joe DiMaggio sold on December 1 at Heritage Auctions for $300,000, setting a new auction record for a signed Monroe photograph. The picture, a publicity still taken in 1953 for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, was already among the most famous and coveted of Monroe’s portraits. It is now the most valuable as well.
It was offered within Heritage Auctions’ latest Historical Platinum event, which was filled with documents written and signed by titans of history such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt and realized more than $2.48 million.
But five words handwritten by one woman topped them all.
“Bidding was extraordinary from the moment the auction began, with heated battles among collectors over some of the most significant artifacts Heritage has ever had the privilege of bringing to market,” said Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena. “But as someone so enamored of Monroe – as an actor and icon, as someone whose fame has only increased with each passing year – I am particularly thrilled to see this benchmark realized during this event.”
The photograph has extraordinary provenance, having come from the Joe DiMaggio collection with a signed letter from the Yankee Clipper’s daughters, Paula DiMaggio Hamra and Kathie DiMaggio Stein.