18 January, 2018

Marilyn Monroe's Dress from Seven Year Itch – 2011

The next auction to enter our list features some of the most revered items and memorabilia in cinematic history. These items were acquired by Debbie Reynolds who amassed a collection so large that it represented decades of Hollywood.

Reynolds won most of these items in 1970 when MGM Studious auctioned off a vast amount of their costumes and props. This opened a new market for film enthusiasts and scholars to get their hands on the items they saw on-screen.

Reynolds had an idea in mind. She wanted to create a museum to capture the essence of film and how it has transformed over time. However, it did not become real and the financial burden of taking care of those items took its toll and resulted in them being auctioned in 2011.

400 items from her collection went up for auction. Their estimated value was more than $50m. It was thought that Reynolds took $22.5m.

One of the highlights from this auction was the dress which Marilyn Monroe wore in the seven Year Itch.

Marilyn Monroe had many moments on-screen which defined her career. The Seven Year Itch was certainly one of them. Released in 1955, it tells the story of a husband’s (played by Tom Ewell) summer in New York at a time they would send their Wife and Children away due to the unbearable heat.

The story centres on the husband (Ewell) befriending a new neighbour (Monroe) and trying to justify how it’s okay for a husband to be around another woman during summer and the ethical implications.

After several introspections, he convinces himself that he is suffering from the Seven-Year-Itch which is a psychological condition whereby during the seventh year of a marriage, the husband will have a tendency to become unfaithful.

However, everything changes when Marilyn Monroe is standing above an air vent for a subway line which, as it passes by, sends an upward gust of air that catches Monroe by surprise as she frantically tries to keep it down. It was at this moment cinema magic was created and became one of most iconic moments of her career.

That very dress was acquired by Debbie Reynold who collected an array of cinema memorabilia to the tune of 3,500 items over 40 years.

Marilyn Monroe’s dress had reached a massive $4.6m which exceeded a lot of expectations – including Reynolds. Other items up for auction were the bowler hat worn by Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor’s headdress which she wore in Cleopatra and the guitar played by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Although Reynold’s dream of having a museum never came to fruition she has shared her love of the cinematic world through the auction.

Strange Items in Auction Part 2