A private collection of rare photographs of starlet Marilyn Monroe, taken by Bert Stern during his Last Sitting session in 1962 just weeks before her death, exceeded all expectations to bring a combined $80,000 at Heritage Auctions. The March 15 auction realized $137,519 and included a range of images – from early, wide-eyed shots of Norma Jeane in 1945 to raw, sensual photos – as part of an inaugural online photography auction devoted exclusively to Monroe on HA.com.
"This was the first Marilyn online only auction we have held and the strong results – especially for the Bert Stern images – are a testament to the iconic Marilyn Monroe," said Rachel Peart, Director for Photographs at Heritage. The auction's lots touched on Monroe’s final photo shoots, including a portfolio of color and black and white photos from sessions on the beach in Santa Monica and the Hollywood Hills.
The auction’s top lot was the seductive Marilyn Teasing, from The Last Sitting, 1962, which sold for $12,500, fully five times its pre-auction estimate. Stern's Marilyn Monroe, Sleeping, 1962, sold for $10,625 and disarming Marilyn Monroe, Sequined Gloves, 1962, saw interest from five bidders who pushed the hammer price to $10,000.
Carefree snaps of the often troubled model and actress surpassed expectations as Marilyn Monroe, Here's to You, (from the Last Sitting), 1962 sold for $10,000, against a $2,500 estimate, and Marilyn Monroe - Rhythm (from The Last Sitting for Vogue), 1962 sold for $9,375 against a $3,000 estimate.