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.
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
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.
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…