Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mistake turning down 500K for Marilyn Monroe's dress?

Deborah Burke of Stamford, CT turned down a $500,000 offer for the dress that was worn by Marilyn Monroe on the 1962 film Something's Got To Give on the show Final Offer that aired on the Discovery Channel June 15th. I watched it and cheered her on for sticking to her guns all the way till the end. Do you think she made a mistake?

I've been reading comments that she should have taken the $500,000 offer. That what she paid on ebay hurt her chances of getting a fair offer...

I often hear that I could sell some of my high end pieces quicker if I priced them much lower but I know what they are worth because I pride in doing diligent research and give them exceptional care. I would much rather let someting sit than give it away. Sooner or later someone comes along that appreciates it as much as I do and recognizes its true value.

This particular dress's provenance is well documented as stated in Final Offer, every rose's leaf, every petal, bead...if that were not the case Ms. Burke would have never received the 500K offer in the first place.

In the program one of the bidders stated what she paid will hurt her. Why should the chances of what she paid hurt what the item is really worth? Just because I find an item in, say an estate sale, and at a later time decide to auction it...what the item is truly worth should not suffer because of what I paid. If anything, we love hearing stories of people finding treasures in the attic. We celebrate it. Just watch Antique's Roadshow and see for yourself.

This was a time in Marilyn's life when she was at her most beautiful.

The folks in the show Final Offer are middle men, not colletors. They had to low-ball Ms. Burke in order to make a profit from the sale of the dress. Owning that dress would have certainly brought their stores attention, notoriety... but are they passionate about Marilyn Monroe or vintage clothing? I'm willing to bet probably no.

Marilyn Monroe's name has a serious following of collectors with very deep pockets. I am confident that Ms. Burke will be able to sell that dress for the minimum of $800,000 for the dress worn by Marilyn weeks before her death.

Edit ~ I received information that THE Deborah Burke behind MM's dress may be lady behind Antique Dress. For years I have looked up to this lady. She is what lovers of vintage and antique fashions strive to be.

I also forgot to mention that there was a Documentary about Something's Got To Give where the making of the dress was documented. The bidders of Final Offer were fully aware of this fact as well.

Go to this FB video and watch Deborah in her home with her collection of antique clothing. Swoon!

Not Marilyn's but of the same decade and similar style in our brand new shop...

As you were.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree - fed up with the "quick buck" mentality we see more and more in the vintage world these days!

If this was Deborah from antiquedress then good for her! - she knows her stuff and the true worth of an item. Good publicity too!


figure8studio said...

Dear M, I received a message from Deborah herself confirming that she is the owner of the Marilyn Monroe dress worn on Something's Got To Give.

Anonymous said...

She should have taken the offer. She was just being greedy. Over time that dress has more of a chance of getting damaged..... I am 33 and have never seen a marilyn movie. So the people that are fans & would actually pay the money she wants dwindles. She will regret her decision sometime soon..... Even with the publicity of the show. No one will pay $800,000-$1,000,000. The guy who offerred the $500,000 was a fan of hers.

figure8studio said...

Hi annonymous. You bring up some good points, however perhaps you missed the paragraph in my post that states the person who offered the $500,000 is a dealer. He stated "I have to sell this dress immediately", "I have to make money" and "I have to buy and sell it"

A fan and a collector are just not the same. They can wear the same hat but when someone is a dealer they think "How can I get this item at the lowest possible price so I am able to make a profit" and most dealers will not even make an offer unless they can double what they paid.

I disagree that asking fair market value is greed. That is why its called 'Fair' and not inflated.

As for deterioration, the owner has been in the business of antique clothing for decades, named in several publications, media and an expert in preservation.

Thank you for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Would like to know if the lady ever sold the dress?

George Vreeland Hill said...

The dress sold today at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills for $290,000.
I went to see the dress twice this week.
I thought it would sell for much more.

George Vreeland Hill

figure8studio said...

Thanks for the update. I hope she made something from her investment.

antiquedress said...

Hi all! Deborah Burke of here. I too thought the dress might go
higher at auction, but I'm happy to know that it is going to someone who will treasure it and enjoy it as much as I have for the past few years.... paying $358k for it (with the auction fees). Another beautiful Marilyn gown from River Runs Through It failed to meet reserve of over $400k at Bohams Auction last year. So the reserve was set accordingly on this dress. You never know what might happen at auction. It's just a crapshoot as to what something is worth on that very day and time. However it met the reserve, so all is well. As for the $500k, that was a TV reality show that may or may not have been concluded at that price. It was easy for the dealer to toss out a number, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything, and the other dealers came in well below $150k (if I remember correctly) though those numbers were obviously way low for this dress! Certainly Marilyn Monroe dresses peaked with the Debbie Reynolds auction, but most have settled in the $300-$600k range. So this dress was a good buy for someone, but it's fine by me. I'm a collector and historian at heart, so to have owned any dress that Marilyn Monroe wore, even for a short time, was pretty surreal for me. I still have pieces worn by other greats such as James Cagney, Lana Turner, Cyd Charisse, Carol Channing, Gypsy Rose Lee, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck, Jane Mansfield, and newer legends such as Cher, Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews and Whitney Houston, etc., etc. It's a unique joy to own these pieces worn by the greats.... Even if it's just for a short while. And I'm lucky I get to do something I love! THAT is the best reward! Thanks for sharing this Marilyn journey with me! It's fun to share with you all!

Deborah Burke

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