Auction of Greta Garbo's dresses, caps fetches $1.6 million

LOS ANGELES Sun Dec 16, 2012 3:23pm EST

A black and pink two piece ensemble that belonged to actress Greta Garbo is shown in this publicity photo released to Reuters December 14, 2012. An auction of film legend Garbo's belongings got off to a roaring start on Friday, with her clothing, jewelry and other memorabilia fetching more than ten times pre-sale estimates in many cases. REUTERS/Julien's Auctions/Handout

A black and pink two piece ensemble that belonged to actress Greta Garbo is shown in this publicity photo released to Reuters December 14, 2012. An auction of film legend Garbo's belongings got off to a roaring start on Friday, with her clothing, jewelry and other memorabilia fetching more than ten times pre-sale estimates in many cases.

Credit: Reuters/Julien's Auctions/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A two-day sale of clothing, jewelry and other memorabilia belonging to reclusive movie star Greta Garbo fetched $1.6 million, more than three times the original estimate, according to Julien's Auctions.

Garbo's Louis Vuitton streamer trunk, which sold for $37,500, was among the top sellers in the auction of 800 items which began on Friday, along with three leather driving caps she wore in a 1924 car advertisement that fetched $15,000.

A U.S. passport issued to her in 1964, which carried an estimate of $3,000-$5,000, also sold for $15,000, and a 1930s black velvet evening dress that had an estimated value of $1,200 went to the highest bidder for $13,750.

"Greta Garbo commanded Marilyn Monroe prices," Martin Nolan, the executive director of the Beverly Hills auction house, said in a statement. "Her beauty, extraordinary screen presence and fashion trending style were proven to be timeless."

Garbo, one of Hollywood's greatest stars and beauties, died in New York in 1990 at the age of 84. She retired from film and public life decades earlier in 1941.

All of the items in the sale, including a platform bed she designed with antique Swedish carvings, photos, luggage and documents, had been kept in storage before her family decided to sell them in the auction that was announced in August.

Garbo started her Hollywood career in silent movies such as 1927's "Flesh and the Devil" and was among the few actors to successfully transition to talkies, becoming iconic not only for her beauty, but for her brains and the streak of independence she displayed on film and in her personal life.

The Swedish actress earned four Academy Award nominations, her first for 1929's "Anna Christie," and was finally given an honorary award for unforgettable performances by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1954.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney and Jill Serjeant; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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