Perhaps the first thing anybody thinks of when they think about Marilyn Monroe’s most famous moment is the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” song she sang at the 45th birthday celebration party for President John F. Kennedy. And of course, you also think about that lovely, classic, sparkling dress she wore when she sang it. Besides her beauty, her tragic life story, and her acting, the one thing everybody certainly remembers the historical actress for is both that song and that dress.

The History of the Dress

The history of the dress itself is perhaps as interesting as the history of that birthday celebration. Originally costing $12,000 in 1962, obviously, an exorbitant sum for the time, it was made specifically for Marilyn Monroe and created by designer Jean Louis.

The dress is a sparkling, nude, sheer ensemble laced with 2,5000 rhinestones. The dress was made to fit Marilyn Monroe snugly, but it was apparently so tight, as the story goes, she had to be sewn into it the day she planned to wear it. However, there’s another reason the dress is memorable, and it’s for what Marilyn Monroe wore underneath the tight-fitting gown: nothing. That part of the story became a permanent part of the dress’s history.

It was also, sadly, one of Marilyn Monroe’s final appearances in history.She died three months after the celebration, in August 1962. So, the image of her in the dress is one of the last images of herself she ever gave to her public and fans.

The Sale of the Dress

The first record of the dress ever selling was in 1999, and it cost its new owner $1.26 million. Since then, it remained hidden from public display until the auction. It recently went up for sale again, through Julien’s Auctions, and was sold the first day it was up for $4.8 million. The price is staggeringly shocking for the auction house, who noted that not only is that over four hundred times more than the original cost of the dress, Julien’s Auctions estimated it would only sell for half that much.

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