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Douglas Elliman saves the day for Marilyn Monroe, George Washington and Vincent van Gogh

2:07 pm, November 29, 2012


What do George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Charles Dickens, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway,
John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe all have in common?

They are all featured in an exhibition being showcased at Douglas Elliman’s Madison Advenue Gallery this week — or at least their handwriting is.

The brokerage stepped in to house the exhibition of letters and documents collected by celebrity appraiser Joe Maddelena after the original venue was ruined by Hurricane Sandy.

Maddelena hosts Hollywood Treasure, a weekly reality television series on SyFy which follows the expert and his team as they track down, appraise and help auction off valuable film, television and pop culture memorabilia.

The collection includes a handwritten letter by post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh worth around $300,000.

The van Gogh letter to friends, Monsieur and Madame Ginoux, talks of his failing mental and physical health. “Disease exists to remind us we are not made of wood …” the painter says in the letter, expected to fetch $300,000 at auction after the exhibition.

Other documents include several George Washington manuscripts, including his letter on world peace; Charles Dickens writing on William Makepeace Thackeray; a Thomas Paine manuscript; Martin Gay writing about his eyewitness account of the Battle of Bunker Hill; and a rare Emily Dickinson letter.

There’s also a letter written by John Lennon to Eric Clapton about forming a band and letters by  Marilyn Monroe, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio.

“I am extremely proud that Douglas Elliman’s 980 Madison Gallery is able to host such a significant collection of personal memorabilia from historic icons,” said Dottie Herman, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman.

“Representatives for Profiles In History reached out to us when the original museum space, the famous Fraunces Tavern Museum, sustained extensive damage during Hurricane Sandy and had to cancel. In the spirit of true New York resiliency, we were able to provide our gallery space and offer people a unique chance to see this amazing collection before it goes to auction.ˮ

The Collection is open to the public and will be  on view at the gallery at 980 Madison Avenue from Dec. 3 through 9 from 11a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

The entire collection of 3,000 objects will be auctioned off by Maddalena’s auction house, Profiles in History,www.profilesinhistory.com over the next two years. The first auction takes place Dec. 18.

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