They didn't know it at the time, but the students of Ralph Waldo Emerson Junior High School in Los Angeles were sitting in the company of greatness the day this 1941 school photo was taken. Why, you ask? Because a student by the name of Norma Jeane Baker was in their midst, a young lady who would rise to fame under the name Marilyn Monroe.

The vintage photo is part of an upcoming sale of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams' Auction House. It is estimated to fetch $7,000 - $9,000, but the face of young Norma Jeane seated next to her classmates is priceless.

Here's a close-up of the class photo:

marilyn monroe class photo

The image is accompanied by a sweet note the aspiring actress penned on the back of the photograph, where a number of the pictured students wrote dedications to each other. She was 15 at the time, four years away from the start of her film career:

"To 'Georgie' / A super, swell fellow / in fact really keen! / (I really mean it Geo.) / Norma Jeane Baker / S '41."

The rare California photo has a bargain price tag compared to another image of Norma Jeane that sold for $750,000 in Poland last year.

What do you think, would you spend close to $10K on this small piece of Monroe's history? Scroll down for more photos of the effervescent actress in the slideshow below, taken by Peter Mangone in 1955:

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  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone

  • Marilyn Monroe, NYC 1955 Copyright © 2012 Danziger Gallery / Peter Mangone All photographs copyright © 2012 Peter Mangone