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Famed Marilyn Monroe dress, other items on sale

You can soon own a piece of Hollywood history, thanks to actress Debbie Reynolds.

For decades, Reynolds collected some of the big screen's most iconic props and costumes. But now, she's putting them on the auction block.

Check out the items up for auction

CBS News National Correspondent Ben Tracy spent some time with Reynolds, known for her roles in "Singin' in the Rain" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown," to find out why.

The 79-year-old star is saying good-bye to the dresses she wore in her movies, selling them off along with hundreds of other Hollywood treasures she's purchased, mostly at studio auctions over the past four decades.

Reynolds told Tracy she began collecting the costumes for emotional reasons.

She said, "I couldn't believe that they were getting rid of all these iconic pieces that I considered to be historical and should be saved."

Reynolds has a pair of "Wizard of Oz" ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland. She also owns Julie Andrews' dress and guitar from "The Sound of Music."

Some of the centerpieces of the collection include the famous Oscar-winning fashions worn by Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" and the pleated, white "subway dress" worn by Marilyn Monroe in "The Seven Year Itch."

Though Reynolds wouldn't disclose how much she paid for the Monroe dress, she said it's expected to bring in more thsn $1 million at auction.

Reynolds said, "I paid a lot, but not that!"

As Reynolds and Tracy walked through the collection, Tracy remarked how small the actresses' waists were.

Laughing, Reynolds said, "Yeah, we've all changed since that time."

Reynolds' collected the costumes with the dream of one day building a museum. But development deals kept falling through, putting her deeper in debt. The auction is designed to pay off those debts.

Reynolds said she's "devastated" and "very saddened" that her idea never came to fruition.

"(I'm) very disappointed that I never could get the right people interested," she said. "At least, I never found them."

Tracy asked the star, "You talk about, this wasn't cheap. That you spent a lot of money, you had to use your credit card. Did you ever get to a point where you said, 'Whoa, I'm buying too much stuff?"'

"Oh, yes," Reynolds said. "It was always too much. But then, life should be that. Either full of life, or no life."

The star said she wanted to have the auction while she could be a part of it and make sure the costumes go to "special homes."

"If you wait 'til you pass away, what good does that do?" she said. "So, I'm being selfish, in a way, by passing them along while I'm still alive."

Reynolds' auction is set for next Saturday, June 18.

Check out the dresses for yourself. Take our special CBS News tour with Reynolds:

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