World’s most expensive dress comes to St. Augustine


First Coast residents and vacationers visiting St. Augustine’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in February and March had the opportunity to view the world’s most expensive dress once worn by Marilyn Monroe.

The fashion icon flaunted the dress when she famously sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy on May 19, 1962, for his 45th birthday gala at Madison Square Garden. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! set a new Guinness World Record for the most expensive dress sold at auction when the company acquired the dress from Julien’s Auctions for $4.8 million. Add in auction fees, and the dress cost over $5 million.

“This is the most famous item of clothing in twentieth-century culture,” says Edward Meyer, vice president of exhibits & archives for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! “It has the significance of Marilyn, of JFK and of American politics.”

Ripley’s unveiled the dress at a special event in February that was attended by over 180 people, many of whom were dressed in 1950s attire. A Marilyn Monroe impersonator attended and interacted with guests, posed for meet-and-greet photos and sang the infamous “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” song. The event also featured a Marilyn Monroe scavenger hunt, a screening of “Some Like It Hot,” wine and hors d’oeuvres and a birthday cake with a presidential seal on it.