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Marilyn Monroe's Lost Love Letters to Be Auctioned

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Marilyn MonroeBaron / Getty Images

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 Part of a three-page handwritten letter and original envelope postmarked Oct. 9, 1954, from baseball legend Joe DiMaggio to Marilyn Monroe on display at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif. Jae C. Hong / AP

It's no secret Joe DiMaggio loved Marilyn Monroe. The baseball great cried at her funeral and for 20 years had flowers placed at her crypt several times a week. Now, his heartbreak over the breakup of their marriage will get a rare public airing when "Marilyn Monroe's Lost Archives" goes up for bid at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, California, next month.

"I love you and want to be with you," DiMaggio said in one pained letter to Monroe from the collection, written when she announced she was filing for divorce after a matter of months in 1954. "There is nothing I would like better than to restore your confidence in me."

The 300 items, which go on the block Dec. 5 and 6, also include love letters from Monroe's third and final husband, playwright Arthur Miller. There's also a handwritten letter from Monroe to Miller in which the woman who was arguably Hollywood's greatest sex symbol muses about her many insecurities. Other letters in the collection come from such friends as Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Jane Russell, the latter imploring Monroe in 10 neatly handwritten pages to give her marriage to DiMaggio another chance.

Auction owner Darren Julien estimates the pieces could fetch $1 million or more, noting that a watercolor Monroe painted and had planned to give to President John Kennedy went for $80,000 at an estate auction nine years ago. He said Monroe's "collectability" has skyrocketed in recent years, driven in part by deep-pocketed Asian and European collectors with a fondness for American pop culture artifacts.

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 Marilyn Monroe with her second husband, Joe DiMaggio, in 1954. STF / AFP/Getty Images

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