Biggest Collection of Marilyn Memorabilia Going Under the Hammer
Have you ever thought what it would be like to own something as iconic as the red sequined dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Well, now you can!
Various examples of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia will soon be going up for auction, thanks to David Gainsborough Roberts from Jersey. He is thought to have the largest collection in the world of memorabilia for the late actress.
“I’ve been collecting for many years,” he explained. “I’m 70 years of age now; I don’t have a wife and children, so I thought, ‘I must sell these things.’”
Mr Gainsborough Roberts is considered something of an expert in the field of Marilyn Monroe and has spent decades collecting a huge range of objects once owned by her. Some of these items include dresses she has worn in her films, and even one of her bras!
Most of the collection is set to go ‘under the hammer’ around June 2016, to coincide with what would have been Marilyn’s 90th birthday. And some of the items are expected to sell for staggering amounts of money… But it doesn’t just stop with Marilyn!
Mr Gainsborough Roberts has collected other items of Hollywood memorabilia, such as clothing worn by Madonna and Lawrence of Arabia. There is a Stetson once owned by John Wayne, one of Billy the Kid’s guns and John Lennon’s cufflinks. There is even a piece of cake from the wedding of Queen Victoria and a set of keys from the Titanic.
“I should have concentrated on one subject – then I would be a great authority on that subject!” exclaimed Mr Gainsborough Roberts. “I should have concentrated more, [but] I’ve got a lot of big things out there which I hope people will love and buy.”
Of course, there are also some controversial works in his collection. These include signed items given by Hitler to his wife, Eva Braun, which she later left her sister. In addition, there are items associated with the Third Reich, which are thought to be unlikely to sell well in the UK.
Explaining this unusual offshoot of his collection – including artwork from both Hitler and Winston Churchill – Mr Gainsborough Roberts said, “I’m not a fascist, but [these items] fascinate me because they were so evil.”
But Mr Gainsborough Roberts’ love is for Marilyn, and that isn’t going away any time soon. “In 1989, I bought a Marilyn Monroe film costume from Christie’s and my life changed completely,” he explained.
And that event appears to have forged a friendship between auctioneer and collector. Last year, Christie’s hosted the free exhibition Famous and Infamous: Highlights from the Collection of David Gainsborough Roberts. It meant that between the months of August and September, members of the public could ogle and take joy in this extensive collection of memorabilia. And Christie’s will be responsible for cataloguing around 450 pieces to auction off for Mr Gainsborough Roberts.
And what will he be doing with the money – estimated to be in the region of £10 million?
Although some of the money will be going to family and funding his care as he gets older, there are some charities in Jersey who will be benefitting greatly from the sale.
“I love Jersey!” declared the collector, explained that he wanted to be able to give something back to the island that had been his home since 1964. “I have a lot of friends here and would like some of them to benefit from what I have got.”