A legendary gown has gone up for sale and has been bought for a record amount of money which has left many people stunned.

The dress by Hollywood costume designer Jean Louis, worn by Marilyn Monroe, sold at auction for $4.8m. Photograph: Julien Auctions/EPA

This is the famous dress which was worn by late American actress, Marilyn Monroe, far back in 1962, when she sang “happy birthday Mr President” to John F Kennedy.

The gown has sold for a world-record price at auction, fetching US$4.8m (£3.87m).

According to The Guardian UK, the sheer, flesh-coloured design, which features more than 2,500 hand-stitched crystals, had a pre-sale estimate of $3m before it went under the hammer at Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles.

It was bought by museum chain Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, surpassing the previous most expensive dress sold at auction – Monroe’s white costume from The Seven Year Itch – which went for $4.6m in 2011.

Marilyn Monroe sings ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ to John F Kennedy in May 1962. Photograph: Snap/Rex/Shutterstock

Edward Meyer, vice-president of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, told the Press Association: “We believe this is the most iconic piece of pop culture that there is.

“In the 20th century I cannot think of one single item that tells the story of the 1960s as well as this dress. It’s a new world record for a dress.”

Meyer said it was likely the dress would go on display at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Hollywood before moving to different branches around the world.

The custom-made Jean Louis gown was so tight fitting that Monroe was said to have been sewn into it before she performed for Kennedy on 19 May 1962, ahead of his 45th birthday.

The Hollywood star was found dead less than three months later, aged 36.