The first issue you notice after you see Marilyn Monroe's full-length gloves within the storeroom of the Smithsonian National Museum of yankee History is how tiny her hands were.
"They're one in all variety of pairs she had," says curator Dwight Bowers, gently lifting them out of the beige steel cupboard they share with Christopher Reeves' Superman costume and also the 10-gallon hat that J.R. wore in "Dallas".
"They're white child. they are terribly small and petite. and that they show the decorousness of the Nineteen Fifties," he explained. "There's a stain of ink on the left one ... maybe it came from giving an autograph to somebody."
Donated by a non-public collector, the gloves conjure the complete Marilyn Monroe assortment at the publicly-funded Smithsonian establishment, the world's largest network of museums and, in principle, repository of all things Americana.
Bowers, who plans to incorporate the gloves in an forthcoming Smithsonian exhibition on yankee common culture, said it's "logical" for the museum to carry additional Monroe memorabilia.
"But Hollywood material and Hollywood celebrities are huge business within the auction world," he told AFP within the windowless storeroom that is packed floor to ceiling with show-business artifacts from vaudeville to nowadays.
"Private collectors are a part of our competition -- and personal collectors have a far larger budget than we've."
Fifty years once her death, demand for something associated with Hollywood's original blonde bombshell -- from the dresses she wore to the magazine covers she graced -- is stronger than ever. And it's additional international still.
Many alternative things is seen at the Hollywood Museum in l. a. , where a few of personal collectors have pooled their most prized Monroe objects for a summer-long public exhibition.
It's a wide-ranging show, from the mortgage paperwork on Monroe's house to never-before-seen images and a bunch of clothes just like the black silk crepe dress she wore on her honeymoon with baseball legend Joe DiMaggio.
"It had been in storage for thirty five years," Hollywood Museum founder Donelle Dadigan said. "When we have a tendency to received it, you knew who it belonged to, as a result of the Chanel variety 5 fragrance still lingered... it absolutely was virtually magical."
The bulk of Monroe's personal belongings went on the auction block at Christie's in ny in October 1999 at a historic two-day estate sale that raked in $13.4 million.
"They literally had everything from pots and pans to her brassieres," recalled Clark Kidder, a collector of Monroe-related magazines in Wisconsin and author of a 2001 guide to Monroe memorabilia who attended the sale.
The most expensive item then was a diamond-studded platinum eternity band, a present from DiMaggio, her second husband, that Christie's consultants had estimated at $50,000 tops. It sold for $772,000 and it's possible price rather more nowadays.
Monroe's baby grand piano went, too, for $662,500, along side everything else from a try of bikinis and a collection of gym equipment to her driver's license -- still because the gloves that eventually wound up within the Smithsonian.
Such costs nowadays would be thought of bargains, due partially to the globalization of the memorabilia market and an influx of cash-rich and reclusive Asian and Gulf collectors for whom value is not any object.
"Some of the highest costs for Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, within the seven figures, you'll find yourself finding in China, in Japan, within the Middle East ... it's simply extraordinary," Dadigan told AFP during a phonephone interview.
Last year, in Macau, l. a. auctioneers Julien's sold a robe that Monroe wore within the movie "River of No Return" for $516,600 and a signed nude from her "red velvet" session with photographer Tom Kelley for $16,250.
Earlier in 2011, the billowing dress that Monroe wore over that famously breezy subway grating in "The Seven-Year Itch" sold for a staggering $4.6 million -- and commission -- in l. a. .
The seller was the actress Debbie Reynolds, who at seventy nine had no additional space for her assortment of thirty five,000 Hollywood movie costumes. The buyer, as is therefore typically the case at auctions, opted for discretion and bid by phonephone.
"A heap of those high-profile items, after they come back up for auction, are about to the Asian countries," l. a. collector Scott Fortner, whose own Monroe objects are a part of the Hollywood Museum exhibition, told AFP.
"I realize it disappointing that a number of these items literally simply disappear and that we haven't any plan where they're going," added Fortner, who has catalogued his entire assortment -- from a feather boa to make-up and eye drops -- on-line.
Fortner sees himself not such a lot as a collector than as a custodian of the memory of a timeless picture icon. he is particularly pleased with one item in his possession -- Monroe's humble Brownie snapshot camera.
"I have continuously found that piece terribly, terribly intriguing," he said. "It's the childhood camera of 1 of the foremost photographed girls, if not the foremost photographed lady, within the world. there is a motivating little bit of irony there."