Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

An initial print run of 30,000 has already proved insufficient to meet demands. The £50 cover price has deterred very few and the prized catalogues have been flying out of the auction house at an average rate of 1000 a day. Staff at Christie’s were under strict instructions not to issue complimentary copies, which means the first print run sales alone should total close to £1.5m – the total presale estimate for lots is $3m (£1.8m).

Christie’s are far from surprised – or disappointed – by the demand: “Obviously we’re thrilled. The bids for the actual sale are coming in fast and furious from all over the world – America, UK, Europe, Asia, Australia – everywhere. The fact is that Marilyn really is a world icon. She was an extraordinary figure and commands international interest.”

A second print run was anticipated and demand for catalogues as collectables could even continue after the sale.