Marilyn Monroe’s ’56 Thunderbird sells for $490,000


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Marilyn Monroe scored another posthumous hit over the weekend with the sale of her raven black 1956 Ford Thunderbird. The car sold for a resounding $490,000 at Julien’s Auctions’ Idols & Icons: Hollywood sale in Beverly Hills, California. 

The ’bird was part of a collection of “never-before-seen personal property” from Monroe’s estate, according to the auction house that specializes in celebrity memorabilia. The car was owned and driven from 1956 to 1962 by “one of Hollywood’s greatest screen goddesses.”

Image Credit: Julien’s Auctions.

Celebrity provenance


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The two-seat convertible had a pre-auction estimated value of $250,000 to $500,000. By contrast, the top current value of a non-celebrity (but otherwise identical) Thunderbird is $85,200, according to the Hagerty valuation guide. 

Celebrity provenance can add immeasurably to a collector car’s value, especially those vehicles once owned by such A-list stars as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman or Eric Clapton. Monroe’s Thunderbird was the only automobile sold during Julien’s Hollywood memorabilia auction.

Some of Marilyn Monroe’s other belongings that sold for big money included her 1961 Golden Globe, which went for $250,000.

Image Credit: Julien’s Auctions.

Priceless personal effects

Other Monroe memorabilia included:

  • The black satin blouse with matching necktie that Monroe wore to a press conference at Los Angeles International Airport on February 26, 1956, which sold for $43,750 (over four times its original estimated value of $10,000).
  • Her copy of Playboy’s first issue (which featured her on the cover), signed by publisher Hugh Hefner, which sold for $32,000.
  • Monroe’s iconic black- and white-checkered pants, which sold for $31,250, more than three times its original estimate of $10,000. 
  • A beige Jax top that she wore in 1960 while rehearsing for the film Let’s Make Love. The top sold for $11,250. 

Other celebrities whose collector’s items were sold at the auction included the recently deceased comic book legend Stan Lee, singer Cher, the late actor Sharon Tate, Tom Hanks, Roy Rodgers, George Clooney and Jeff Bridges. Bridges’ famous four-piece ensemble that he wore in the film The Big Lebowski sold for $15,625, Julien’s reported.

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Image Credit: Julien’s Auctions.