Marilyn Monroe in your home - memorabilia up for grabs at Billionaire Gallery
What do you buy for the man who has everything?
Another patterned tie, some festive socks or a comedy iPhone cover probably won’t cut it again, especially as he’s keen to have something his friends and work buddies don’t have.
For something original, you could head off to New York, try to hunt down Al Pacino then persuade him you’re not a crazy stalker but simply in need of his autograph to win the present-giving competition.
However, you could save the airfare - and possible restraining order - by just popping in to Harvey Nichols at Mall of the Emirates.
Between browsing for a new designer dress, you could pick up Scarface’s signature in the store’s new ‘Billionaire Gallery’.
It is home to a collection of rare and exclusive framed signed items from some of the biggest names in showbiz. The treasures come from Miami-based collector Bruce Matthews, who started gathering memorabilia when he was a child. After moving from New York to South Florida, Bruce’s grandfather kept in touch by sending football cards to him and his brother, Bruce now sees his collections as his effort to ‘preserve history’.
“My first acquisition was an Elvis Presley signed photo,” says Bruce. “I also had the dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang happy birthday to President Kennedy, which is one of the most famous scenes in her life and in pop culture. When we sold that, at the time, it was highest selling piece of memorabilia in history.”
Having exhibited his ‘Millionaire Gallery’ for the past two years in Harrods, London, this is the first time the items will be available in the Middle East - although not to Middle East buyers. Bruce explains:
“For our Millionaire Gallery brand, our highest priced item was purchased by a prominent member of a Middle Eastern royal family and was the full collection of all 44 US Presidents. This retailed for approximately Dhs711,000. More recently we sold a pair of rare Muhammad Ali autographed boxing gloves for Dhs415,000 to a collector in Kazakhstan.”
From ‘James Bond’ to the ‘Godfather’ there is plenty to catch the eye of the UAE collector - and some particularly rare pieces that Bruce will find very hard to let go of.
“Oh boy, there’s a couple of items here that are really dear to my heart,” says Bruce.
“A Marilyn Monroe piece with a photo release signed by Norma Jeane that’s been in my collection for some time because I’ve never seen anything like it.
“It was the last month she signed her name like that because she went on to sign a contract with 20th Century Fox to become Marilyn Monroe for the rest of her life, so it’s a very important piece in pop culture.”
Billionaire Gallery is at Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. See billionairegallery.com