Marilyn Monroe’s Menorah Sells For More Than $112,000
In Monroe’s possession when she died, the menorah is an item that brings together Judaism with the Golden Age of Hollywood.
On Nov. 7, niche New York City-based auction house Kestenbaum & Company sold Marilyn Monroe’s menorah for $112,522.
Though the item, paired with the buyer’s premium, totalled over $112,000, the buyer’s winning bid was $90,018. “There were a few knowing smiles in the sale room when the buyer specifically upped his offer to include an 18 in his $90,018 winning bid,” says company director Daniel Kestenbaum. “In Jewish numerology, 18 symbolizes life, and therefore good luck and celebration. The market for authentic collectibles with unique provenance from the Golden Age of Hollywood is unrivalled and the demand for preserving and collecting Fine Judaica remains equally as vigorous. Marilyn Monroe’s menorah has remarkable provenance and unites the two mesmerized markets.”
The menorah was among Monroe’s possessions when she died in 1962. She was gifted the menorah from the parents of her former husband, playwright Arthur Miller, who she married in 1956. She converted to Judaism in the same year. Previously, the menorah was offered for sale by a private collector, who bought it at a 1999 Christie’s auction, “The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe,” where it was sold alongside the famous dress Monroe was wearing when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy in 1962. The menorah was also briefly shown to the public at The Jewish Museum of New York as part of the “Becoming Jewish: Warhol’s Liz and Marilyn” exhibition, as well as at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.
Established in 1995, Kestenbaum & Company specializes in the sale of rare books, manuscripts, as well as fine and ceremonial art.