ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The world's most expensive dress has arrived in Northeast Florida.
The dress, which was worn by Marilyn Monroe as she famously sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden in 1962, was unveiled Tuesday at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! in St. Augustine.
The iconic gown is part of Ripley's "Monroe - JFK" exhibit, which opened to the public Tuesday night.
"I had never heard the story before and it was fascinating," museum visitor Colleen Weber said.
The museum was packed with enthusiastic Monroe fans, and Ripley's hopes the hefty price tag it paid to get the piece will pay off.
"The dress cost $4.81 million," said Edward Meyer, vice president of exhibits and archives for Ripley's Entertainment, Inc. "The case cost $65,000. The graphics -- we've probably got another $20,000 in it."
Meyer helped buy the dress for Ripley's and said the sky-high price was worth it.
"It means a great deal to our company to own it, to have it here in historic St. Augustine, which is our original, very first Ripley's museum," he said. "It's a bit of history."
Visitors who stopped by the see the dress, which features more than 6,000 hand-sewn rhinestones, didn't disagree.
"It's a value that's been put upon it and Ripley's has it," museum visitor Tom Weber said. "A lot of nostalgia."
The dress will be at Ripley's in St. Augustine until March 31, and then it will be moving on to other Ripley's museums. Eventually, it will make its way back to a very secure vault in Orlando.