Screen beauty Marilyn Monroe's romantic painting to former US President John F Kennedy is expected to fetch a staggering $21,000(GBP11,000) at New York auction house Christie's sale later this month (30JUN05).

The SOME LIKE IT HOT star's watercolour features a single red rose, and is inscribed 'Happy Birthday President Kennedy from Marilyn Monroe.'

Unfortunately the superstar died in August 1962, before she was able to give her secret lover the gift, which has been released from storage after 43 years.

The eagerly-awaited sale also includes an affectionate telegram from late movie legend Marlon Brando to Monroe during her nervous breakdown in 1961, which was discovered last month (begs23MAY05) during the break-up of Brando's estate.

Other items include a stained halter neck dress worn by the star, a letter written to her newly-discovered half-sister, her divorce papers from baseball star JOE DiMAGGIO and an address book featuring phone numbers of icons like Henry Fonda, Frank Sinatra and Jack Lemmon.

Auctioneer MARTIN NOLAN says, "In 1999, Christies auctioned off 600 items belonging to Marilyn. They expected to get about GBP550,000 for everything but ended up with GBP7.6 million.

"So although we are anticipating making around GBP320,000 here, it could make a hell of a lot more.

"Many of these items have never been seen as they have been kept safe since she died in 1962."

03/06/2005 02:56