David Gainsborough Roberts’ collections
David Gainsborough Roberts’ collections primarily focus on film and entertainment memorabilia. He has assembled them over the last 20 years.
David Gainsborough Roberts
Roberts is a retired investment banker from Jersey, most well-known for his collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia.
Marilyn Monroe collection
Over the last 20 years, Roberts has amassed the world’s largest collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia. The major focus of the collection is a set of 20 costumes worn by Monroe.
These include the pink ‘wiggle’ dress worn in Niagara (1952), the red sequined gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and the bikini worn in her last completed film, The Misfits (1961).
A highlight of Roberts’ collection is Monroe’s risqué black, beaded cocktail dress – famously worn in Some Like It Hot (1959).
The 1920s inspired dress, designed by William Travilla, was purchased by Roberts at Christie’s for $28,500 in 1993.
The Monroe collection also consists of other items of note, such as postcards the actress wrote to friends, jewellery she wore, and a collection of gossip magazines kept was by her bed.
A unique and deeply personal item included is a silver ring given to Monroe by her mother, Gladys. Gladys spent much of her life in mental institutions.
Roberts has collected a variety of other interesting and rare memorabilia.
Examples include the robes worn T.E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia), the bullet-proof vest worn by Clyde Barrow, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, and a selection of Wyatt Earp memorabilia.
Historical items include a set of keys formerly belonging to a surviving crewman from the Titanic, a section of the flag upon which Lord Nelson died, and a deckchair and lifejacket from the passenger liner Lusitania, which sank in 1915.
Roberts has also stated that he collects “a lot of crime-related items”. In 1997, he paid £10,350 for a watch owned by Dr. Hawley Crippen, who famously murdered and dismembered his wife in 1910.
Roberts explained, “Crippen is of particular interest as my mother was born only 100 yards away and my uncle lived next door to where Crippen committed the murder and buried parts of the body."
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