A Piece of Movie History Sells for $5.6M
Iconic dress Marilyn Monroe wore in 'Seven Year Itch' sets record
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2011 4:30 PM CDT
In this Sept. 9, 1954 file photo, Marilyn Monroe poses over the updraft of a New York subway grating while in character for the filming of "The Seven Year Itch" in New York.   (AP Photo/Matty Zimmerman, file)

(Newser) – Actress Debbie Reynolds decided to unload the 3,500 movies costumes she has amassed over the years, and one of the very first ones to sell brought in quite the price: $5.6 million. That was what one lucky bidder spent to acquire Marilyn Monroe's white "subway" dress, which she famously wore in the Seven Year Itch. CNN reports that Reynolds was in tears when the bidding ended after 20 minutes, with the buyer paying $4.6 million for the dress and another $1 million to the auction house. The dress was only expected to fetch $2 million; the previous record for a Marilyn dress was $1.26 million, for the gown she wore while singing "Happy Birthday" to JFK.

Three more Monroe dresses, worn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There's No Business Like Show Business, and River of No Return brought in another $2.7 million. Other big-ticket items: a bowler hat worn by Charlie Chaplin ($135,300), riding pants worn by Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet ($73,800), and a Wizard of Oz test costume consisting of Judy Garland's blue cotton dress ruby slippers ($1.75 million). It was the first in a series of auctions of Reynolds' treasures; though she had hoped to house the clothes in a museum, the cost of their care became too much for her.