GREENWICH, Conn. – A watch that Marilyn Monroe (search) gave President Kennedy (search) the night she famously sang "Happy Birthday" to him fetched $120,000 at an auction this weekend.
The gold Rolex (search) is inscribed: "Jack, With love as always from Marilyn May 29th 1962."
Bill Panagopulos, founder of the Alexander Autographs auction house, said the buyer was an East Coast collector but did not release a name.
Monroe is believed to have given the watch to Kennedy aide Kenneth O'Donnell, who passed it on to Kennedy, Panagopulos said. But when Kennedy saw it, he told O'Donnell to "get rid of it," according to a note that was sold with the watch, Panagopulos said.
The watch had been expected to sell for between $40,000 to $60,000.
"It's the hardest thing I ever had to estimate," Panagopulos said. "Historic relics, especially when there is a hint of scandal attached, defy any attempt by an auctioneer to estimate their selling price."
The watch case also contains a poem, written on a small piece of paperer, titled "A Heartfelt Plea on Your Birthday." The poem reads:
"Let lovers breathe their sighs
And roses bloom and music sound
Let passion burn on lips and eyes
And pleasures merry world go round
Let golden sunshine flood the sky
And let me love
Or let me die!"
Monroe died two months later after overdosing on sleeping pills. The 36-year-old actress was found naked and face down on a bed in her California home. Her death was ruled a "probable suicide."