Garbo’s one-of-a-kind United States Department of Labor immigrant identification card, signed at the conclusion in pencil, 5 x 3, September 20, 1938. The card is filled out in type with her personal information, listing her surname as “Garbo,” given name as “Greta Lovisa,” country of birth, “Sweden,” date of birth, “Sept. 18, 1905,” nationality, “Swedish,” and color of eyes, “Blue.” The lower portion is filled out in red ink by the immigrant inspector, noting that she arrived at the port of New York aboard the steamship Kungsholm on October 7, 1938, with a status of admission as “N. Q. 4-B Immigrant.” A gorgeous 1.5 x 2 passport-style photo of Garbo is stapled to the right side, with an embossed seal and ‘Consular Service’ stamp along the bottom. The reverse was filled out in type at the American Consulate General in Stockholm, Sweden, on September 20, 1938, noting her immigration visa status as “8 Swedish - Section 4 (b),” and that a previously issued card had been canceled. In fine condition. From the estate of Greta Garbo.
The great actress had briefly returned to her home in Sweden after the tremendous box office failure of the 1937 film Conquest, which lost over one million dollars as one of MGM’s biggest flops of the decade. Despite her decreasing popularity, the New York Times reported her return to America aboard the Kungsholm, writing that Garbo ‘said she did not know what plans Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer had, but she understood her next film would have a Russian theme.’ This proved correct, as she was cast in the title role of the romantic comedy Ninotchka, produced and directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Although it was her first comedy, Garbo was praised as a ‘gifted comedienne’ and the performance earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition to dating from an important period in her career, the large signature and striking portrait of Garbo make it an absolutely spectacular piece of Hollywood history.
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