There are numerous reasons why Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) memorabilia is so collectible. To begin, she was a great actress, starring in such films as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Roman Holiday,” for which she won an Academy Award. She was a tireless humanitarian, volunteering for UNICEF and other global causes. And she was one of the most elegant women to walk the planet, a classic beauty with a ballerina figure whose unerring fashion sense influenced a generation.
Today, the British-born Hepburn is one of the most collected actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. Collectors are rewarded by a wide variety of Hepburn memorabilia, ranging from photographs and magazine covers to lobby cards and autographs.
Along with Grace Kelly and Carroll Baker, Hepburn was one of Hollywood’s leading ladies of the late ’50s and early ’60s, but her memorabilia has had lasting resonance for collectors that other actresses can’t match because of her influence on women's fashion. Hepburn was famous for her personal collection of Hubert de Givenchy couture. She is also credited with pioneering every woman’s fashion necessity, the little black dress, which became a phenomenon after Hepburn wore one as Holly Golightly in the 1961 movie version of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” In 2006, that dress, designed by Givenchy, sold at auction for a staggering £410,000.
During her heyday as an actress, Hepburn was so admired for her style that her clothing has become almost as collectible as her movie memorabilia. Many of Hepburn’s most collectible pieces have been plucked from her wardrobe, a trend that has been reproduced at auction after auction.
Clothes are not the only non-movie-related Hepburn items available. In 2001, Hepburn was to be part of a German stamp series featuring Hollywood stars. Her son, speaking on behalf of the deceased Hepburn, refused to grant copyright for the image used on the stamp, which was from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” because it showed her with a cigarette holder. The 14 million stamps that were printed were destroyed, though at least five survived. As one would expect, these stamps are in great demand, if you can even find one.
Other popular Hepburn items include posters and photographs, especially those of her as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” Hepburn’s signature on any of these items or on still photographs of her and, say, William Holden, her co-star in “Sabrina,” makes them even more desirable.