A Selection of Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia up for Grabs in December
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A Selection of Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia up for Grabs in December

By FANG BLOCK
Wed, Nov 30, 2022 11:29amGrey Clock 2 min

More than 175 items from Marilyn Monroe’s life and career will be offered this December by Julien’s Auctions in collaboration with Turner Classic Movies.

The sale comes on the heels of the release of the controversial film Blonde, based on the 2000 novel of the same name that focuses heavily on Monroe’s rise to fame and her relationships with men, both real and fictional.

Highlighting the sale is an artifact that’s believed to be the only connection or communication between the world-famous actress and one of the men in her life, her biological father Stanley C. Gifford.

Monroe was put into foster care in June 1926 when she was just two weeks old. Her mother tried to gain back full custody, but struggled with symptoms of mental disorder, according to her biography. Gifford, who worked in the film industry, did not want Monroe to be part of his life even though she tried to contact and visit him many times, according to My Sister Marilyn: A Memoir of Marilyn Monroe by Berniece Baker Miracle, Monroe’s half-sister, and Mona Rae Miracle, daughter of Berniece.

The card reads: “This cheery little get-well note comes specially to say that lots of thoughts and wishes, too, are with you every day,” with the words “a little prayer too,” and signed “Stanley Gifford, Red Rock Dairy Farm, Hemet, Calif.”

The card was discovered by Marilyn Monroe historian and collector Scott Fortner as part of researching and documenting Monroe’s personal archives. It was undated and without an envelope, and believed to be hand delivered to Monroe when Gifford visited her during one of her many hospitalizations in Los Angeles, according to Julien’s.

It has an estimated value between US$2,000 and US$3,000.

Additional highlights include wardrobe pieces worn by Monroe for her photograph shoots and movies. A Mae West-inspired black “cellophane effect” evening gown, worn by Monroe during the 1955 filming of The Seven Year Itch, is expected to fetch between US$20,000 and US$40,000. A black velvet opera coat in which she was often photographed while living in New York from 1954-55 has a presale estimate between US$20,000 and US$30,000.

One of the most valuable items is a personalized brown leather Gucci address book custom stamped “M.M.” on the front cover, circa 1955, expected to sell for between US$50,000 and US$70,000. The address book contains contacts including Marlon Brando, “Mother Miller,” Lee Strasberg, Maurine [sic.] Stapleton, and Harold Clurman, along with handwritten entries and notes.

“Despite the numerous books, movies, and stories there are about the life of Marilyn Monroe, she has always been a largely enigmatic and alluring star,” Pola Changnon, general manager of Turner Classic Movies, said in a statement. “This auction brings us closer to the real person she was.”

The sale will take place from Dec. 17-18 live at Julien’s Beverly Hills galleries and via its online platform.



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The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index reveals investments of passion are paying strong dividends, in some areas at least

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 9, 2024 4 min

Art was the investment of passion that gained the most in value in 2023, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). This is the second consecutive year that art has risen the most among the 10 popular investments tracked by the index, up 11 percent in 2023 and 29 percent in 2022. Art was followed by 8 percent growth in jewellery, 5 percent growth in watches, 4 percent growth in coins and 2 percent growth in coloured diamonds last year.

The weakest performers were rare whisky bottles, which lost nine percent of their value, classic cars down six percent and designer handbags down four percent. Luxury collectables are typically held by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who have a net worth of US$30 million or more. Knight Frank research shows 20 percent of UHNWI investment asset portfolios are allocated to collectables.

In 2023, the KFLII fell for only the second time, with prices down 1 percent on average.

Despite record-breaking individual sales in 2023, a surge in financial market returns contributed to a shift in allocations impacting on luxury asset value,” the report said. “… our assessment reveals a need for an ever more discerning approach from investors, with significant volatility by sub-market.

Sebastian Duthy of AMR said the 2023 art auction year began with notable sales including a record price for a Bronzino piece. But confidence waned as the year went on.

“It was telling that in May, Sotheby’s inserted one of its top Old Master lots – a Rubens’ portrait – into a 20th Century Modern evening sale. But by then, it was clear that the confidence among sellers, set by the previous year’s record-busting figures, was ebbing away. In the same month, modern and contemporary works from the collection of the late financier Gerald Fineberg sold well below pre-auction estimates.”

The value of ultra contemporary or red-chip’ art contracted the most in 2023.

“Works by a growing group of artists born after 1980 have been heavily promoted by mega galleries and auction houses in recent years. With freshly painted works in excess of £100,000 almost doubling in 2022, it was little surprise that this sector was one of the biggest casualties last year. There is a risk there are now simply too many fresh paint artists with none really standing out.”

In the jewellery market, Mr Duthy noted that demand was strongest for coloured gemstones of exceptional quality, iconic signed period jewels, single-owner collections, and items with historic provenance in 2023. In the watches market, Mr Duthy said collectors chased the most iconic and rare timepieces.

A Rolex John Player Special broke the model record when it sold for £2 million at Sotheby’s in May, double the price for a similar example sold at Phillips in 2021,” he said.

Although whisky was the worst-performing collectable in 2023, it has delivered the highest return on investment among the 10 items tracked by the index over the past decade, up 280 percent. Andy Simpson of Simpson Reserved, said 2023 was a challenging year but the best of the best bottles gained 20 percent in value. In my opinion some bottles that lost significant value in 2023 will return through the next two years as they are simply so scarce and, right now at least, so undervalued, Mr Simpson said.

Whisky was the worst performing collectable in 2023 but it had highest return on investment over a 10-year period. Image: Shutterstock

Classic car expert Dietrich Hatlapa said the 6 percent fall in collectable vehicle values in 2023 followed a 22 percent surge in 2022. The strong performance of other investment classes such as equities may have dampened collectors’ appetites it’s a very small market so it only takes a minor change in portfolio allocations to have an effect, and there has also probably been a degree of profit taking. However, we have seen some marques like BMW (up 9 percent in value) and Lamborghini (up 18 percent), which appeal to a younger breed of collector, buck the trend in 2023.”

Mr Duthy said a dip in the share price of the top luxury handbag brands last Autumn appeared to spook investors. Last autumn it was possible to pick up an Hermès white Niloticus Himalaya Birkin in good condition for under £50,000. The recent slide reflects a general correction at the upper end that’s been underway for some time rather than changing attitudes to the harvesting of exotic skins.

According to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey, the top five investments of passion among Australian UHNWIs are classic cars, art and wine. Fine wine values gained just 1 percent in 2023 as the market continued its correction, said Nick Martin of Wine Owners. “It’s been a hell of a long run, so I’m not that surprised. Some wines from very small producers that had enjoyed the most exuberant growth have seen the biggest drops. It had got a bit silly, £50 bottles had shot up to £200 or £300.”

Favourite investments of passion: Australia vs Global

1. Classic cars (61 percent of Australian UHNWIs vs 38 percent of global UHNWIs)
2. Art (58 percent vs 48 percent)
3. Wine (48 percent vs 35 percent)
4. Watches (42 percent vs 42 percent)
5. Jewellery (18 percent vs 28 percent)

Best returns among investments of passion (10 years)

1. Whisky 280 percent
2. Wine 146 percent
3. Watches 138 percent
4. Art 105 percent
5. Cars 82 percent

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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