Collector’s Corner

Collector’s Corner: Kimmarie DePalma

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Welcome back to Collector’s Corner!  This month we meet lifelong fan Kimmarie DePalma.

How long have you been collecting?

I was born into collecting Marilyn. My father loved Marilyn as a kid, and collected her photos and books. I grew up with framed photos of Marilyn all over my childhood home. I have a photo of myself when I was 7 years old standing next to a Marilyn picture. In 1989, I started building my own collection.

What is in your collection? Do you focus on one particular area or collect all kinds?

You can say I collect all kinds of her merchandise, but my favorite are vintage magazines.
My collection consists of magazines, collector plate sets, Marilyn Merlot wine, porcelain dolls, vinyl dolls, vintage ads, pool cues, statues, lamps, books, some signed by the authors. Photos and art. Marilyn dinnerware and champagne glasses with Andy Warhol art. Christmas ornaments, cross stitch, stamps, collector card sets and Marilyn inspired clothing by Warners.

What is your most prized possession?

My most prized item is Marilyn’s 1946 Family Circle magazine in mint condition that I won at an auction in 1993. I love that there is a photo of her posing with this magazine. I also treasure a calendar I have of her from 1953, as Norma Jeane posing with a Great Dane.

What would you like most to add to your collection?

What I want the most for my collection was sold at the Christie’s auction in 1999. Marilyn’s platinum diamond wedding band from Joe DiMaggio. When I went to Christie’s Auction in July 1999, I couldn’t stop looking at it. Joe DiMaggio was my favorite husband of Marilyn’s.

Any advice to new collectors?

My advice to new collectors is to display your collection, and enjoy it as much as possible. My collection is in storage, so I don’t get to enjoy it as much as I used to.​

What do your friends and family think of your Marilyn collection?

My friends and family are so used to me loving Marilyn. My husband, who was my boyfriend in 1999, was the one who took me to Christie’s each day ​to see her items. It was en experience I’ll never forget. Especially seeing her Happy Birthday President dress being sold for the first time. It’s always nice when someone tells me when they see Marilyn, they think of me. But- only true fans understand what’s it’s like to be in love with a girl named Marilyn.

Collector’s Corner: Lily Delbrooke

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Meet November’s featured collector, IM member Lily Delbrooke!


How long have you been collecting?

I have been collecting Marilyn items since 2012. It all began with a single shirt that I found in my closet. I found out who she was, and began looking up her photos and researching about her; I was amazed by her beauty! I soon began to see how she was literally everywhere; shirts, cups, posters, magazines, clocks, you name it, they have it! I decided that I wanted to collect Marilyn Monroe things since I had been trying to find something I love and to make it a hobby that I would enjoy very much.

What is in your collection? Do you focus on one particular area or collect all kinds of items?

photo-20161122092720I have a variety of items in my collection. I would say that I mainly focus on books and shirts. I am working on filling up my small book shelf and I have almost purchased every book that I want. I am very picky when it comes to books, I don’t want to have any books that tell lies about her or simply bash her. I like to know that the books that I own are reliable and informative. My other shelves have all kinds of unique items such as cards, flip flops, magnets, calendars, and much more that I enjoy collecting.

photo-20161122092802What is your most prized item?

My most prized items would be my vintage Marilyn magazines, it’s incredible to see how the magazines were in those times and what they had in them.

What item would you most like to add to your collection?

I want to have her autograph in my collection, whether it’s on a check or a photograph.

Is there any advice you’d offer to a new collector?

My advice would be to always be smart about what Marilyn items you choose to buy. Don’t buy something simply because it has her face on it, (unless you truly love it of course!) and make sure it has good quality! I have seen a trash can with a small Marilyn sticker slapped onto it for quite a bit of money, and it was really plain and simple!


What do your friends and family think of your collection?

My family and friends are fascinated by my collection and since they know about my Marilyn obsession every time they see something with her they think about me right away, which I love!

Collector’s Corner: Sirkku Aaltonen

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Welcome to another installment of Collector’s Corner!  This month, meet IM contributor Sirkku Aaltonen

How long have you been collecting?

I started collecting when I was eleven, in 1995. I had known of Marilyn ever since I was three, as I was allowed to watch some of her movies. But up until then, I didn’t really know anything about her, until I talked about her with my mom, we watched a documentary together and she bought me Spoto’s MM biography. Coincidentally, we had to give a presentation at school, so I chose Marilyn as my subject. I ran out and bought some Marilyn postcards to use in my presentation. That was really the beginning of my collection.

unnamed-1What is in your collection? Do you focus on one particular area or collect all kinds of Marilyn items?

Marilyn is still relatively hard to come by in Finland, and even more so twenty years ago. I started by collecting anything with her name or face on it. Postcards were my main thing, and I have hundreds of them. Later on, I’ve focused on good books, documentaries, special items, vintage magazines etc. I sometimes receive Marilyn items as gifts, which really warms my heart


Part of Sirkku’s Marilyn collection

What is your most prized item?

It’s hard to say what the most prized item in my collection is, because so many things have memories and stories attached to them. The items may or may not be anything special or valuable, but they’re dear to me. I do have a vintage Finnish magazine with a photo of her on the cover that I, or other Marilyn experts, had not seen anywhere else before. I was going through piles of old magazines on sale, when peekaboo! It was clearly her, but it was so hard for me to believe it, because of the rare photo. It was as if she had a special surprise for me. And it happened on August 5th.

What item would you most like to add to your collection?

I’m always looking to add great books and other interesting items to my collection. My dream is to have something that belonged to her.

Is there any advice you’d like to offer a new collector?

These days it’s pretty easy to order anything Marilyn related on the internet. If you’re just starting out, beware that it might not be possible to collect literally everything with her on it. Pick and choose what it is that you really want. Is it books? Photos? Or in case you want a little bit of everything, what items do you simply like most? After all, a collection should be something you enjoy.


Stacks of books in Sirkku’s home

What do your friends and family think of your collection?

I’ve been lucky because my family and friends have always been incredibly supporting. My aunt always gives me a Marilyn calendar for Christmas. My mother travelled with me to London for the Marilyn exhibition. When we moved into our current apartment, I told my boyfriend I want some Marilyn here and there, but that he could choose what and where. As a result, you can tell someone here likes Marilyn, but she’s not overwhelming. Although there might be piles of books here and there that are also quite telling…

Collector’s Corner: Fraser Penney

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Welcome to Immortal Marilyn’s Collector’s Corner!  This series showcases Marilyn collectors from around the world, taking a look at everything from books to dolls to the rare and unique in the world of Marilyn collectibles and memorabilia.

This week we are proud to introduce IM admin and longtime Marilyn collector, Fraser Penney!

How long have you been collecting?
I started saving stuff from magazines from around the fall of 1976 onwards. It was very slow to start. Clippings mostly. I was 12 and would usually go into town and meet up with friends on a Saturday; we’d go round the records shops and books shops and places like that. I saw her poster and wanted it but I remember having to wait about a year before I was allowed to buy it. There was a book I bought after saving up for what seemed like an eternity.

Fraser's impressive library of Marilyn books and more.

Fraser’s impressive library of Marilyn books and more.

What is in your collection? Do you focus on one particular area or collect all kinds of Marilyn items?
At first, I just collected the books and clippings and it progressed to other things like postcards and posters and photos. I began writing to someone in England and they were a great help at finding things and knowing what had been published beforehand and would send me out-of-print books. This eventually expanded to foreign language books which this friend was able to find for me. Then I started collecting magazines. Once I found a source, I got vintage ones. At the time I wanted to have the Life magazines so just focussed on them and then once they were complete I would move onto Photoplay etc So for the most part it was books and magazines. I tried to collect all I could from when she was alive as it gave you an idea of how she was before the tragedy that befell her. Over the years I went through phases and trends and collected plates and ceramics, film posters and a little bit of everything. When eBay started it also brought opportunities to purchase items like the 1950’s drink trays with and coaster sets and many vintage items which I love.

What is your most prized item?
It’s difficult to pick one thing but it would probably be something my mother bought me; she used to bring things to me she saw without me even having to ask for them and we collected the Franklin Mint porcelain dolls together, so I have great memories of those times when they would arrive. There was a boy at school who brought me a magazine with her on the cover that he had found; it’s creased from where he had folded it but it meant a lot and it’s one of the first things I had. It’s not worth very much but I value it because of the memory attached.

What item would you most like to add to your collection?
If I could add anything it would be her autograph, on a cheque or something, maybe a photo. It’s something that always seemed out of my budget so it would be wonderful to have one some day.

Some of Fraser's rare magazines.

Some of Fraser’s rare magazines.

Is there any advice you’d offer to a new collector?
I would just say collect what you like and what you can afford but be selective. It’s easy to get carried away collecting Marilyn as she is on so many things. It’s always good to get advice about books, as there’s so many now and they’re not always truthful; I collected them all in the past but choose to add only the quality, well researched books now or the picture books, which are always lovely. You don’t have to have everything on her, it doesn’t mean you’re any less a fan. Some of the nicest collections I have seen are not that big. I think a good thing is to find something you like and focus on making that your forte. There’s so many different fields to collecting now. It could be something relating to her films, like the advertising things or vintage stills. Or maybe even her personally owned items if your pocket stretches that far. It really is a personal thing for most and we all have different ideas and aspirations. For me at first it was the books so that’s how I began. I think the thing is to choose quality over quantity but if you like something then have it.

Fraser Penney and his books.

Fraser Penney and his books.

What do your friends and family think of your collection?
They just accept it. I usually get a text or told if something is on TV or they see something somewhere. Even if I am in the town and in a shop the staff will direct me to something if it is related to her, I’m always moved when they think of me along with her as someone I like. I think when they get to know me really well they see I am very passionate about her and some have wondered what makes this so, what is so special about her? And they become aware that there was indeed a person there and not the image everyone is familiar with and try to educate themselves about her. It has on occasion caused problems as sometimes when I have had relationships, for example, it has been brought to my attention that she is in that relationship also because I like to have her pictures up or I am reading something about her or buying something for my collection. It’s usually a sign that the relationship is not going to last as it’s like they’re jealous of an old movie star. I was once forbidden to refer to her, but that’s another story. I try not to let it define me as there’s many things I am interested in and passionate about but Marilyn is very visual which can become a presence. As time moves on I think the old friends I’ve had for years can see for themselves she was something special as she’s never been forgotten and she is picked up by younger generations.