A line had formed outside Christie’s auction house in Beverly Hills long before the doors opened on Friday morning.
The reason? The first public viewing of Marilyn Monroe’s personal property, set to be auctioned in New York on Oct. 27-28. The approximately 1,000 items, in storage since shortly after her death on Aug. 5, 1962, include evening gowns, costumes, furs, jewelry, letters, more than 400 books, and the ring — with 35 diamonds — she received from Joe DiMaggio at their wedding on Jan. 15, 1954.
“We’ve had 700 people through here today,” said Christie’s spokeswoman Beth Shepherd. “We’ve been very, very busy.”
One of the visitors was Greg Pippo, a stock trader from New York, who said Monroe “signifies another era.”
“You see her so young and vibrant — it’s a shame her life was cut so short,” Pippo said. “Looking at all the clothes, with the pictures of her wearing them, you really feel she’s in the room, especially when you see the beaded dress.”
Ah, the beaded dress…. Monroe wore the famous, skin-tight outfit by French designer Jean Louis — hand-sewn with more than 6,000 beads — when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” to John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1962. It’s expected to fetch in the high six figures.
Also in the collection are a white baby grand piano, two Golden Globe awards, her cookbooks, her 1956 California driver’s license, a pair of cowgirl boots from “The Misfits,” a gold Magnavox TV set, and scripts from “Something’s Got to Give,” “Misfits” and “Let’s Make Love,” complete with her handwritten — and very personal — annotations.
The items are on display in Beverly Hills until Tuesday afternoon; they go to London on Sept. 18-22; to Paris on Oct. 5-7; and New York on Oct. 22-26. The 400-page catalog will be available for $85 in mid-September by calling (800) 395-6300.