Tom Kelley (1914-1984); Marilyn Monroe, Centerfold for First Issue of "Playboy" Magazine;

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Lot 126
Tom Kelley
(1914-1984)
Marilyn Monroe, Centerfold for First Issue of "Playboy" Magazine

Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
Property from Various Private Collections
Tom Kelley (1914-1984)
Marilyn Monroe, Centerfold for First Issue of "Playboy" Magazine, 1953
Dye-transfer print, possibly unique, signed by Hugh Hefner in ink on the reverse of the mount.
sheet 19 1/2 x 15 1/8in (49.3 x 38.3cm)

Footnotes

  • "I was occasionally asked to retrieve the 8 x 10-inch Marilyn transparency from the [Playboy] vault to show it to a visiting VIP. I must admit there was something mysterious about holding that sheet of film in my hands. Of course I would speculate on what it was worth. But I would also wonder about its history. Who had touched that film? Where had it been? This was the actual film that "saw" Marilyn Monroe lying naked on that sensuous red velvet. Every time I touched that film it was thrilling."
    (Tim Hawkins, former Playboy archivist (1987-1997), quoted on Tom Kelley's website.)

    Kelley's provocative image of Marilyn Monroe was the centerfold for Playboy magazine's first issue in December 1953 (she was also on the cover, clothed.) This extraordinarily rare print of the image, mounted on illustration board and signed by Hugh Hefner, was probably made from the aforementioned transparency for internal purposes. At the time of writing, no other print of this image, also signed by Hefner, is known to exist in dye-transfer.
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