Marilyn Monroe’s Lock of Hair on Sale for $16,500

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
January 15, 2019Entertainment
Marilyn Monroe’s Lock of Hair on Sale for $16,500
Actress Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait laying on the grass in Palm Springs, Calif., in 1954. (Baron/Getty Images)

A lock of Marilyn Monroe’s hair is selling for $16,500. The 60-year-old clipping is from the personal collection of her former hairstylist.

Estimated to be about 35 strands, the clipping of hair comes from the collection of Monroe’s hair stylist, Kenneth Battelle, TMZ first reported. According to the site selling the hair, Moments in Time, the lock of hair comes in a flat paper box and also contains a glass-framed photograph of the actress. The set is complete with a dated piece of paper from Battelle, Monroe’s hairstylist from 1958 until her death in 1962.

Battelle: First Celebrity Hair Stylist

Battelle is recognized as the first celebrity hairstylist, according to the New York Times. His list of clients included Lee Radziwill, Judy Garland, and Audrey Hepburn, to name a few.

Batelle also worked with former first lady Jackie Kennedy, according to the publication. Initially working with the former first lady’s Italian cut, he perfected it in 1961, when John. F. Kennedy took office.

In 1958, when Monroe’s hair was falling out from over bleaching and over perming, she reached out to Battelle, who was able to restore “its soft luster.” After that, whenever Monroe was in New York City, she made sure to visit his Manhattan beauty parlor.

Battelle accompanied Monroe for the Chicago premiere of “Some Like It Hot” (1959). He also styled her hair for Kennedy’s birthday celebration in 1962 at Madison Square Garden, where she famously sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

Monroe was reportedly Kennedy’s lover at the time. Battelle shared that he was forbidden from being backstage with Monroe, according to Vanity Fair.

“She said she was fearful of publicity,” Battelle said. “I don’t really know what she had in mind, but since I was doing both Marilyn and Mrs. Kennedy[‘s hair] at the same time, I imagine it was about that.”

American film star Marilyn Monroe.
American film star Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jean Mortenson or Norma Jean Baker, 1926 – 1962). (Keystone Features/Getty Images)

“Marilyn was very vulnerable—the kindest, sweetest, most generous person I’ve ever known, period,” Battelle told Vanity Fair in 2003. “And I don’t mean generous with gifts. I mean generosity of spirit. That’s why she was slapped down all the time, always getting hurt.”

In 1961, Monroe called on Battelle for her release from Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. “She simply told me, ‘I want to look good,” Battelle told Vanity Fair. “When she came outside, I was absolutely staggered by the way her fans behaved. It was as if they owned her—as if she belonged to them. But Marilyn had that ability to make her movie audiences believe she would leap out of the screen and sit on their laps.”

Vanity added that the last time Battelle worked with Monroe was in June 1962 when she posed for Bert Stern just five weeks before her death.

Despite working in such proximity to these stars, Battelle never saw himself as anything more than a hardworking servant. “What I do,” he told the New York Times, “is only a shampoo away from being nothing.”

Marilyn Monroe’s Lock of Hair Being Auctioned

Among all the celebrities he’s worked with, it was Monroe’s hair that Battelle considered gift-worthy. Gary Zimet, President of Moments in Time, told The Independent that Battelle, who died in 2013, gave away similar “presentation pieces” encasing the blonde hair to close friends.

Previously, locks of hair belonging to the star sold for thousands, including one lock formerly belonging to the fan group the “Monroe Six,” which sold for $37,500.

And in 2016, the sheer dress Monroe wore to serenade President John F. Kennedy for his birthday sold for a record $4.5 million.

Marilyn Monroe's sheer dress on display.
Marilyn Monroe’s famous ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress is displayed at the Christie’s Auction House in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Aug. 19, 1999. (Scott Nelson/AFP/Getty Images)

This lock of hair from Battelle’s collection is for sale on Moments in Time for $16,500.

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