The auction site Julien’s is selling off Hugh Hefner’s personal copy of the first-ever issue of Playboy featuring a nude Marilyn Monroe, and it’s expected to sell for anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. Apparently, people have forgotten that Monroe never consented to having the photos published in the magazine—or they just don’t care.
Monroe posed for the photos in 1949 “when she was desperate for a $50 paycheck,” reports Yahoo. At the time, she reportedly told the photographer, who was taking the photos for a calendar, “You must promise to never tell anyone about my posing for you in the nude. I want you to promise me that you will take the pictures so that I wouldn’t be recognizable in them.”
Monroe was so desperate to distance herself from the images that she signed the model release form for the shoot as “Mona Monroe.” She later explained, “I was nervous, embarrassed, even ashamed of what I had done, and I did not want my name to appear on that model release.”
Several years later, as Monroe rose to fame off movies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Hefner bought the photos for $500 and published them in 1953 in the first issue of Playboy. The issue sold almost 50,000 copies and helped launch his empire. Monroe was never asked for permission to publish the images. In fact, she later wrote, “I never even received a thank-you from all those who made millions off a nude Marilyn photograph. I even had to buy a copy of the magazine to see myself in it.”
Hefner, who died last year at the age of 91, creepily purchased the crypt next to Monroe’s for $75,000, and said, “I will be spending the rest of my eternity with Marilyn.” (A woman he never met in life.) Now, with this auction, Hefner and his legacy have found a new way to posthumously haunt Monroe.