The Marilyn Monroe stocking, item No. 1373, comes with a story. Of course it comes with a story. Under the headline HONEYMOON HOSIERY on page 340 of the catalog for the Nov. 18-19 Mastro Millennium Auction in Oakbrook, Ill., the text reads, "At 3 o'clock in the afternoon on Jan. 14, 1954, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married in San Francisco. DiMaggio was the retired baseball legend and Monroe was America's sex goddess. Never had two bigger icons come together in marriage...."
According to the catalog, DiMaggio and Monroe spent their wedding night at the Clifton Hotel in Paso Robles, Calif. After the newlyweds had checked out, owner Ernie Sharp went into their room and found Monroe's stocking in the wastebasket. Sharp sent the stocking to his friend Charlie Pringle. Now, more than 45 years later, the stocking is for sale (minimum bid: $500).
Question: Charlie kept this thing for 45 years? What did he do with it? Did he frame it and keep it on the dining room wall, or put it in a secret place with the family photos and heirlooms? Question: Did he invite friends and neighbors over and say, "Let me show you Marilyn Monroe's stocking from her wedding night"? Did friends and neighbors eventually—maybe after the first 30 years—roll their eyes and say, "Oh, no, here it comes again, the Marilyn stocking"?
Question: Marilyn Monroe's stocking?
One day Ty Cobb's false teeth go up for sale and fetch $7,475. Another time it's Mickey Mantle's passport (minimum bid: $6,000). Just last week a guy on eBay was trying to sell pieces of wreckage from the plane crash in which Yankees catcher Thurman Munson died in 1979.
Question: Do you point to your trophy case and say, "That's the wreckage from Thurman Munson's plane, right next to my varsity letter for cross-country"?
Now Marilyn's nuptial stocking hits the auction block, along with item No. 386, a Wayne Gretzky high school yearbook (minimum bid: $100); item No. 752, Bill Veeck's wooden leg ($1,000); item No. 1,112, a canceled $9.83 check for gas signed by Walter (Big Train) Johnson ($300); and....
Question: Who are the fools among us who save all this stuff? Better question: Who are the fools among us who buy it?