She’s the first movie star to have been known by a single name – Marilyn – and left the most successful legacy of any actor or actress in history. Now, on July 24, the last check that Marilyn Monroe signed, and possibly the last signature that she gave, will be offered as part of a Marilyn trove in Heritage Auctions’ Entertainment & Music Memorabilia event.
Estimated at $10,000+, the check provides a fascinating coda to the tragic star’s final day.
“As the 50th anniversary approaches of Marilyn’s Aug. 5, 1962 death, demand for her memorabilia continues to increase,” said Margaret Barrett, Director of Entertainment & Music Memorabilia at Heritage, “and so do the prices for it.”
Certain types of Marilyn items — particularly signed photos and set, film or personally-worn clothing — have shot up more than 200% in recent years.
The last known check signed by Monroe, which anchors a grouping of 15 lots commemorating her fame, glamour and lasting legacy, raises some intriguing questions of the great star’s last day and night.
“Dated Aug. 4, 1962 — the day before her death — this $228.80 check was used for the purchase of a white chest of drawers from Pilgrim’s Furniture,” said Barrett, “but what does it suggest, if anything, about her death, which was ruled a probable suicide at the time?”
Dr. S. David Bernstein, a Harvard trained Forensic Psychologist and the founder of Forensic Consultants, LLC — who received no compensation for providing his analysis — said that the check would seem to indicate a low likelihood of suicide.
“Some people, when they’re very depressed, go on spending sprees to make themselves feel better,” he said. “A single item, though — especially something practical and of a low value like this — suggests an ‘I’m going to be here for awhile’ frame of mind. If I were doing a psychological autopsy, this would be intriguing. This would be more consistent with someone who’s not suicidal.”
The continued and ever-growing interest in Marilyn memorabilia showcases the public’s ongoing fascination with the woman who was — and is — arguably the world’s greatest movie star. She is still the subject of books, magazines, movies and television shows.