DALLAS, Texas — A one-of-a-kind photo fetched a record price at auction, as the only known photograph of Marilyn Monroe inscribed to Joe DiMaggio hit the auction block.
The photograph set a new auction record for a signed Monroe autograph, selling for $300,000, Heritage Auctions said in a news release. The photo, a publicity photo taken in 1953 for “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is among the most famous portraits of the actress.
“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,” Heritage Auctions executive vice president Joe Maddalena said. “But as someone so enamored of Monroe — as an actor, an 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 photo is inscribed with the words, “I love you Joe, Marilyn,” and came from the Joe DiMaggio Collection with a signed letter from the famed Yankee slugger’s daughters.
DiMaggio and Monroe were married in January 1954 in San Francisco, with both having previously divorced their spouses, Biography.com reported. Their honeymoon was cut short when Monroe was asked to perform for American troops stationed in Korea, leaving her new husband behind in Japan.
DiMaggio and Monroe divorced in October 1954, 274 days after they were married, History.com reported.
The pair reunited after Monroe divorced playwright Arthur Miller in 1961, and the two remained good friends until the actress died in 1962, Biography reported. DiMaggio reportedly barred members of the Kennedy family, including then-president John F. Kennedy, from attending her funeral.
The only item that sold for a higher price at the auction was one of four known Sputnik 1 test models and the accompanying Tesla broadcast receiver, which sold for $375,000.
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