BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA — Hollywood history is on sale at a celebrity auction April 11-12 that draws buyers from around the world. The items span a century of movie making and include some 20th century political memorabilia.
It has the suspense of a sports competition.
Bidders in the auction room and around the world are vying for a piece of Hollywood history, like imitation diamond earrings worn by Marilyn Monroe.
Other items from the iconic star include clothes and a hair curler. There is even an invitation to John F. Kennedy's birthday party at New York's Madison Square Garden, where the actress famously sang for the president.
Martin Nolan of Julien's Auctions said fans buy memorabilia to feel a connection with the stars.
“People are very sentimental. If they can't get to meet the celebrity, the next best thing and the next easiest thing would be maybe to actually own something from the celebrity, be it from their life or from their career or just something from their home,” said Nolan.
Some historic items from political celebrities include an election ballot from 1994 South Africa, when Nelson Mandela was elected president.
A 19th century document is signed by Frederick Douglass, the former slave and abolition hero, and another bears the signature of Depression-era president Franklin D. Roosevelt.
But most items are from Hollywood, including some from actor David Hasselhoff, who is raising funds for charity. He is auctioning items from his 1980s TV series Knight Rider, the long-running show Baywatch, and an oversized effigy created for the cartoon series SpongeBob SquarePants.
“Stuff that I don't really use any more. It just sits around my house," said Hasselhoff. "This is my most amazing thing. This from SpongeBob. This is a 12-foot, 750 pound [3.6 meter, 340 kilogram] replica of me.”
The auction includes handcuffs worn by magician Harry Houdini, and props and training gear of Kung Fu star Bruce Lee.
Restaurant and bar owner Daniel Nelson is buying items for his home and business. "You only get this opportunity so many times. To get something that has been lost and resurfaces again is exciting,” he said.
Nolan said the auction brings many kinds of buyers, from movie lovers to museums. And for some it's an investment because, with luck, celebrity memorabilia can go up in value.