Martin Luther King Jr.'s net worth: Historic items are worth millions

The items are estimated to be worth millions

Civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. may be one of the most recognizable figures of the 20th century, and although his life's purpose didn't lead him to wealth, items that belonged to King are now worth millions.

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King, born in Atlanta in 1929, decided he wanted to be a minister at the age of 18 while he was a student at Morehouse College. He married Coretta Scott in 1958, and they had four children together: Yolanda, Martin III, Dexter and Bernice.

THESE MARKETS ARE OPEN ON THE MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. HOLIDAY

King's $8,000-a-year salary as a preacher is the equivalent of roughly $58,000 in 2018 dollars, according to GOBankingRates.

One of the most prominent leaders of the civil rights movement, he promoted peaceful, non-violent protests. One of the most notable moments of King's life and career was leading the march on Washington, D.C. in 1963, where he famously delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the Lincoln Memorial in front of some 250,000 people.

He was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, in 1968. The building has since become part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. displays his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 1964. (AP Photo)

Now, drafts of King's speeches, his books and the Nobel Peace Prize medal he received in 1964 serve as reminders of his courage. The medal came along with more than $50,000 in prize money (today's equivalent would be approximately $430,000), and he donated the money to the civil rights movement.

King's alma mater, Morehouse College, has a giant collection of items including drafts of his "I Have a Dream" after the City of Atlanta purchased them for $32 million in 2006. King's estate was planning to auction the items at Sotheby's.

Unfortunately, King's estate has not always been in the spotlight for positive reasons. Three of his children, Bernice, Dexter and Martin III, resolved a dispute centered on selling his "traveling Bible" and Nobel medal in 2016. Former President Barack Obama was sworn in using the Bible in 2013.

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The two items are estimated to be worth as much as $10 million, according to GOBankingRate.

Before that, singer Harry Belafonte and the King estate were engaged in another legal dispute after Belafonte tried to auction off items, including the speech outline found in King's pocket the day he was assassinated. The parties settled in 2014 with Belafonte keeping control over the items. He had been a fast friend of the Kings after the assassination, setting up a fund to send the King children to college, according to GOBankingRate.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.