‘To Joe’: Marilyn’s Signed Photo for Sale

An 11 x 14-inch classic publicity shot of MM, inscribed ‘To Joe, Love + Kisses, Marilyn Monroe,’ will go under the hammer in a University Archives auction on November 11, with an estimate of $20-25K. While the handwriting does appear to Marilyn’s, speculation that it was inscribed to husband Joe DiMaggio seems premature. Given the rather generic message, and the fact that Joe was a very popular name in the 1950s, it is more likely to have been addressed to a colleague or fan; and the print itself resembles those produced by Hollywood studios for the purpose of signing autographs. There is no reason to conclude that it was meant for DiMaggio, but this may not deter buyers as a piece of card also inscribed ‘To Joe’ with an identical message was sold for $1,875 at Heritage Auctions in 2019.

But as Fraser Penney reminds me, there is one exception that proves the rule: this photo from DiMaggio’s estate, inscribed ‘I love you Joe, Marilyn,’ was sold in the Joe DiMaggio Collection sale at Hunt Auctions in 2006.

UPDATE: Marilyn’s autographed photo has been sold for $18,000.