LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The legendary white dress seen billowing under Marilyn Monroe in an iconic image of 1950s Hollywood has sold at auction for $4.6 million, shattering estimates.

The dress, worn by the star in the 1955 film "The Seven Year Itch," had been expected to fetch between one and two million dollars.

But the sale Saturday, part of a collection of Hollywood memorabilia held by actress Debbie Reynolds, saw Monroe's "subway" dress -- now cream colored from age -- sold for $4.6 million (or $5,520,000, with added fees).

The entire sale, which included other Monroe garbs, was valued at $22.8 million, Nancy Seltzer, a spokeswoman for auction house Profiles in History, told AFP in an email.

Signed by the American designer William Travilla, the pleated ivory dress contributed in part to Monroe's enduring image as a 20th Century sex symbol.

It was the highest value feature of the auction that also some 700 pieces go under the hammer.

Among them were dresses Monroe wore in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953) and "The River of No Return" (1954), as well as costumes from other classic Hollywood staples "Gone With the Wind," "The Sound of Music," "Cleopatra," "Ben-Hur," "The Wizard of Oz," and "My Fair Lady."

Reynolds, a singer, dancer and actress whose greatest role came in "Singin' in the Rain," began collecting Hollywood memorabilia in the 1970s when MGM Studios liquidated its assets. Her immense collection includes over 3,500 costumes, 20,000 photographs and hundreds of props and other decorations.

A second sale from the Reynolds collection is planned for December.

Image via Wikimedia Commons