The last professional images ever taken of Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe are set to go on auction Wednesday as part of a larger collection of memorabilia and artwork curated by Paddle8, a leading online auction house.
The images, which were originally a part of an assignment for Cosmopolitan magazine, were shot in June 1962, just weeks before Monroe’s death in early August. According to a press release, there are more than 150 photographs up for auction, with a large majority of them coming from a private collector who acquired them directly from photographer George Barris in the 1980s. The auction will take place between August 2nd and 11th.
“You can tell in these photographs, which are so open and honest, that she really trusted George Barris,” Dean Harmeyer, overseer of Paddle8’s entertainment and special collections, told Vanity Fair. “Marilyn was one of the most photographed women of that age or any age … She loved the camera, the camera loved her. These photographs that Barris took are really amazing because she could really feel at ease with this photographer. There are a number of candids that you can just see that he’s catching her kind of in an off-guarded moment.”
Barris became somewhat of a confidante for Monroe at that later stage of her career – she was 36 and had just gotten fired from the set of Something Gotta Give – and the photographer even collaborated with the actress on a book about her life.
The photos will be presented in their original groupings of three and will be auctioned off in Barris’ original photobox. Each image is signed by Barris, and are estimated to go for between $8,000 and $24,000.
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Other items up for auction in the Platinum Blonde: Collectible Marilyn sale are personal items including Monroe’s eighth-grade class photo and movie posters from her best-known films, like Some Like It Hot and The Seven Year Itch.
Late last year, the actress’ sheer, crystal-emblazoned dress (of “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” fame) was sold at auction for a record-breaking $4.8 million, beating out the previous record-holder: Monroe’s white costume from The Seven Year Itch, which sold for $4.6 million in 2011.
The winning bid went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which bought the dress with the intent to display it at one of their museums, The Guardian reported at the time.