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Press Release - March 22, 2006
Unique DiMaggio & Monroe Autographed Baseball to be Auctioned by Heritage!
Dallas, Texas: A unique, autographed baseball jointly signed by New York Yankees Hall of Fame player, Joe DiMaggio, and his former wife, actress Marilyn Monroe, will be offered for sale by Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas on May 6, 2006.
"The ball is from the estate of the late Associated Press photographer, Harry Harris," said Chris Ivy, Director of Sports Collectibles for Heritage. "By a pure stroke of luck, he obtained the signatures during the Yankees 1961 spring training in Florida when DiMaggio and Monroe were attempting to reconcile after their divorce."
"DiMaggio and Monroe are among the most famous of all celebrity couples, and this one-of-a-kind baseball is one the most exciting autograph items in recent years. Their signatures are bold and clear, and on the same panel of the ball, making this a truly spectacular item for collectors," said Ivy.
"This is the only known baseball autographed by both DiMaggio and Monroe with her name as 'Marilyn Monroe.' One other joint-autograph ball is known, but she signed it 'Norma Jean DiMaggio.' It sold for about $50,000 seven years ago."
In a 1989 interview, veteran news and sports photographer Harris recalled that DiMaggio surprisingly volunteered to be photographed with Monroe during spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1961.
"...we were sitting around the clubhouse and he said, 'Hey, Harry, would you like to make a picture of Miss Monroe and me?' We went to their place on the beach. I posed them with a fishing rod.... When we were finished, my wife got out of the car and asked me if I would get them to autograph one of the balls I kept in the car in case I needed a prop," he recalled in the story.
He said he had turned down a $5,000 offer to sell the baseball in 1961.
Harris, of Brookhaven, New York, passed away in 2002 at the age of 88. He worked for Associated Press for nearly 50 years until retiring in 1978, and shot many famous photographs including President John F. Kennedy lying in state beneath a statue of President Abraham Lincoln.
The unique DiMaggio & Monroe signed baseball carries a pre-auction estimate of $100,000 and up.
For more information about Heritage's auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit www.HeritageAuctions.com.
To reserve your copy of any Heritage auction catalog, please contact Nicole Jewell at 1-800-872-6467, ext. 272, or visit www.HeritageAuctions.com to order by email.