Marilyn Monroe’s Dress and Your Own $1 Million Investment

Did you hear? Last month, one of Marilyn Monroe’s dresses sold for almost $5 million to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. It was previously owned by Martin Zweig, a hedge fund manager who bought the dress in 1999 for $1.26 million. Ripley’s plans to display the dress first in its Marilyn Monroe Gallery at Ripley’s Hollywood Odditorium, before taking the dress on a worldwide tour at its various Odditorium locations.


Your Own Vintage Clothing Investment

After holding the investment for around 17 years, even after quadrupling his initial investment, the return is solid, but it’s also safe to say that the dress wasn’t the best investment, dollar-for-dollar, that Zweig has ever made. On the other hand, we imagine being known as the owner of the Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday Dress works as a great conversation starter. In its article about “Vintage Clothing as an Investment,” Vintage Textile makes a similar point about the personal reward of owning vintage clothing. “The very act of acquiring and holding such a fine piece is a reflection of the collector’s cultivated taste and discrimination, an important expression of personality.”


Personal Value in a Hard Asset

Many people looking to store vintage clothing do so more for personal reasons than financial ones. A grandmother’s wedding dress, a WWI military uniform, an 18th century ball gown that’s been passed down from generation to generation. That said, a family heirloom may still hold real financial value. In some cases, wearing  can be a real balancing act. From the same Vintage Textile article, “If vintage clothing can be worn on suitable occasions, that adds to its value. Overuse, however, may expose the piece to deterioration, detracting from its collectible value.”

Clothing doesn’t necessarily have to be old to be valuable, either. Custom pieces can be fashioned with precious gems and other highly valuable materials. Here’s a list of expensive designer gowns, both new and old.


How to Store Vintage Clothing

The Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday dress was stored in a climate-controlled room on a mannequin. This is probably your best bet for the most sensitive and highly valued items. The Smithsonian gives solid advice about storing antique textiles in general. The main takeaway: “The storage area should be clean, cool, dry, dark, and as free as possible from drastic changes in temperature and humidity, thus ruling out the basement or attic.”


Talk to Closetbox about Storing Your Clothes

Not only does our storage include a climate-controlled warehouse with individual vault units, but we also provide specially designed breathable bags that protect your clothes from dust, while also preventing moisture condensation. If you still have lingering questions about specific clothing items, don’t hesitate to give us a call or start a chat. We have answers for all your storage questions.