Pictures and copyrights from Marilyn Monroe’s first photo shoot were sold for $352,000 at a Julien’s Auctions sale in Los Angeles.
The early photographs stemmed from an earlier time in Monroe’s career. Then, the future sex icon was known only as Norma Jean Dougherty, and had none of the success, glitz, or fame associated with one of Hollywood’s most adored stars.
The 1946 pictures were auctioned off as part of an “Icons & Idols” collection, a Julien’s Auctions spokesperson told the Associated Press. The Beverly Hills event sold not only pictures of the legendary actress, but the negatives, and the right to redistribute them as the owner sees fit.
The photographer, Joseph Jasgur, had debts that needed to be settled. A judge ruled in September that the valuable pictures had to be auctioned to pay those debts, and a rare opportunity to own a piece of the Monroe mythos was created.
At the time of Monroe’s untimely passing, the actress bequeathed all her belongings to Lee Strasberg, her acting coach. Her final wish was that he “distribute [the effects] among my friends, colleagues, and those to whom I am devoted,” according to her will. Instead, he left them to his widow, Anna Strasberg, who eventually auctioned the items for over $13 million.
Besides the Monroe items, other memorabilia belonging to an array of Hollywood musicians and actors were sold.
A 2001 Lady Gaga dress went for a steep $31,250, while a prop gun from her controversial “Born This Way” video was sold for $7,680.
A caricature of John Lennon and Yoko Ono was auctioned for a pricey $90,000.
The top item- barring the Monroe pictures- was an Irish Falcon Gretsch guitar from U2 frontman Bono. It is signed by the rockstar with a scratch guard reading, “The Goal is Soul.” The price tag on the instrument was a hefty $135,000.
The estimated profit from the Julien’s Auction event is about $4 million.