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Lot #1129
Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn inscribes a photo to the hairdresser who transformed her into a blonde bombshell: “Your really wonderful”

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Description

Marilyn inscribes a photo to the hairdresser who transformed her into a blonde bombshell: “Your really wonderful”

Vintage matte-finish 8 x 10 photo of a glamorous yet fresh-faced younger Marilyn, signed and inscribed in blue ink in her early, highly unusual non-cursive hand, “To Sylvia, Your [sic] really wonderful, Always, Marilyn Monroe.” This publicity photo of the pre-platinum starlet, which dates to the 1940s, likely represents one of the earliest examples signed as “Marilyn Monroe”—the professional name Norma Jeane Mortensen began using in 1946 and legally adopted a decade later. The original recipient, Sylvia Barnhart, gave Monroe a new look in 1946 by straightening and bleaching her hair, and remained Monroe’s hairdresser until 1953. Intriguingly, the standard reference The Unabridged Marilyn: Her Life from A to Z (New York: Congdon and Reed, 1987) notes that Barnhart “is a Marilyn Monroe collector, and has several rare photographs of the early Marilyn Monroe.” The photo was previously included in a Butterfield’s auction with a number of other items from the Barnhart collection. In very good condition, with light soiling (mainly to margins), mild edge wear, scattered unobtrusive marks to emulsion (near but not touching signature), and a few dings and tiny creases. The writing is clear and well-contrasted, and the splendid image offers tremendous display potential. PSA/DNA LOA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #316 - Ended December 13, 2006