‘Once in a lifetime chance’ to buy Marilyn Monroe’s prayer book for £9K
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‘Once in a lifetime chance’ to buy Marilyn Monroe’s prayer book for £9K

J. Greenstein & Company is auctioning the iconic actress' siddur on December 8 in Long Island, New York

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

The siddur, once owned by Marilyn Monroe, features two inscriptions on the front cover, including one dating to August 4, 1934 to Kenneth Wasserman from Mrs A Braunstein, and then apparently re-gifted by Wasserman to Mrs. Marilyn Cooper-Smith.
The siddur, once owned by Marilyn Monroe, features two inscriptions on the front cover, including one dating to August 4, 1934 to Kenneth Wasserman from Mrs A Braunstein, and then apparently re-gifted by Wasserman to Mrs. Marilyn Cooper-Smith.

A prayer book belonging to Marilyn Monroe is expected to fetch up to £9,000 when it goes under the hammer, next month.

Described as a “once in a lifetime” chance for buyers to own a piece of Hollywood Judaica, the coveted prayer book owned by the iconic actress is set to go up for auction with J. Greenstein & Company, on December 8.

Among the 197 items featuring in the Rare Antique and Artisan Judaica auction, is a rare illuminated Venetian ketubah from around 1736, estimated at up to £43,000, two vintage Yiddish optometrist eye charts from the 1920s, estimated at £1,200 each and am 18th century Polish silver spice tower, which is expected to achieve  £6,000.

Monroe converted to Judaism in 1956, at the same time as her marriage to American playwright, Arthur Miller, and remained committed to her new religion after the couple divorced five years later.

The siddur, published in 1926, features two inscriptions on the front cover, including one dating to August 4, 1934 to Kenneth Wasserman from Mrs A Braunstein, and then apparently re-gifted by Wasserman to Mrs. Marilyn Cooper-Smith.

He writes: “To Mrs. Marilyn Cooper-Smith – I wish you to keep this bible with (which) you are married.”

The prayer book was originally purchased at the Christie’s auction of the Estate of Marilyn Monroe in 1999, and has now become available for auction after the passing of one of the current owners.

Last week, a musical menorah once belonging to the actress sold at auction in New York for $112,522 (£87,686).

The total amount was achieved following a bid for $90,018 (£70,149) and an additional 25% buyer’s premium – with the new owner specifically requesting an “18” added to the price for “good luck”.

Kestenbaum & Company director, Daniel Kestenbaum explained: “There were a few knowing smiles in the sale room when the buyer specifically upped his offer to include an 18 in his $90,018 winning bid for Marilyn’s Menorah.

“In Jewish numerology, 18 symbolises life, and therefore good luck and celebration.”

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