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The Most Expensive Pop Culture Memorabilia Sold at Auction

Updated November 5, 2019 10.3k views17 items

What happens to props, costumes, or other items after they are used in our favorite movies, TV series, music videos, or events? One thing is for sure, they don't get thrown away. Many high profile items from pop culture live a second life as memorabilia for collectors. Years after their initial use, the most interesting and culturally significant items are often sold at auction for exorbitant amounts of money to collectors of all types.

Read on, and you'll find a list of 17 of the most expensive pop culture memorabilia sold at auction, including items used by Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Andrews, Jerry Garcia, and more. Some of these expensive collectors items are actually worth something (more than sentimental value) so it's no surprise that these items – like Liz Taylor's jewels – sold for an exorbitant amount of money. Other collectibles, like Babe Ruth's jersey, gain their value from their place in history and the story surrounding them. Read on to learn more about some of the most expensive items ever sold at auction.
  • Marilyn Monroe's Subway Dress

    Marilyn Monroe's celebrity clout is such that two of her dresses make the list, the first being this iconic dress worn by Monroe in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. In 2011, the ivory pleated dress was sold during an auction in Beverly Hills; total price paid: $5.6 million.

  • Mark McGwire's 70th-home-run Baseball

    These days, anyone can buy a game-used MLB baseball for under $20, so why would someone back in 1999 spend $3 million on one? Well, this particular ball was hit by famed pro Mark McGwire and marked (no pun intended) his 70th "home run" in the sport. Suffice it to say, this is not the ball you use to play "catch" with your son...
  • Gone With the Wind Best Picture Oscar

    What's the highest grossing movie of all time? If you are thinking of one of James Cameron's monstrosities, then you forgot to adjust for inflation! 1939's Gone with the Wind pulled in almost $200 million (domestic) in it's day; with an adjusted gross of over $1.6 billion, that makes it the most profitable movie ever. Let's not forget that it also won eight competitive and two honorary Oscars® and is, in fact, a f**king great film. All that combined meant that it's Best Picture Oscar statuette sold in 2012 to pop sensation Michael Jackson for $1.54 million.

    Fun fact: Since 1950, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has forbade winners from selling their Oscar statuettes to anyone except the Academy for the amount of $1.
  • Judy Garland's The Wizard of Oz Dress

    Have you ever wanted to don a blue plaid dress and run through the streets shouting "We're off to see the wizard!"? No? Just me? Well, we all missed our chance when Judy Garland's screen-used The Wizard of Oz dress was sold in 2012 for $480,000. #heartbroken.