Bidders and spectators packed Desa Unicum house in Warsaw, where 238 pictures by the late American fashion and celebrity photographer Milton H. Greene were up for grabs.
The proceeds will go to the Polish government because the photos come from a collection of some 4,000 Greene pictures the nation obtained from Chicago businessman Dino Matingas in the mid-1990s as the result of a complex communist-era embezzlement scandal linked to the buy-out of Poland's state debt.
The collection was estimated at $680,000. Some of the images have never been published, the organizers said.
Other greats in the portraits include Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minnelli, Marlene Dietrich, Paul Newman, Alfred Hitchcock and Marlon Brando.
As the bidding began, a black-and-white photo of a reclining Monroe in black stockings sold for 50,000 zlotys ($16,000), and one of her in a ballerina's dress sold for almost $20,000.