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Photos From Marilyn Monroe’s First Shoot Are Headed to Auction

For those who think they’ve seen all that there is to see when it comes to Marilyn Monroe it may be time to take another look. As the associated press has reported earlier in the month photos from Marilyn’s very first modeling shoot will be hitting the auction block this December and they present images of the famous actress unlike any that have been seen before.

The photos, shot by Joseph Jasgur in 1946, depict a 20-year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty complete with brunette hair as well as a more svelte and adolescent build then most Monroe fans are accustom to seeing. They will be auctioned off through Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California sometime between December 2nd and 4th. The photos are one of many lots that Julien’s will be offering during their “Icons & Idols” auction and will be complimented by several model release forms that the then Ms. Dougherty signed for Mr. Jasgur in Hollywood.

What is extremely unique about these photos is that the copyright for each of them will be sold alongside the images; meaning that whoever ends up with the pics stands to make a good return on their investment thanks to what are bound to be some hefty distribution fees. Darren Julien, chief of Julien’s Auctions has declined to put an estimated price on the images saying “It’s really hard to put a value on something like this, because it’s rare and not just for the collector.” Mr. Julien went on to explain that “these are probably the most significant images of Marilyn that are available because they’re so early, from the first part of her career, and it’s rare to have images like these where you’re selling the rights too.”

The proceeds from the auction will be used to settle Mr. Jasgur’s outstanding debts, and due to the related court battles that have been going on for the last two decades the images have not been widely circulated at all. Though once the copyright is in the auction winner’s hands it stands to reason that will no longer be the case. Sample images from the lot include a black and white head shot of Monroe, another black and white of her wearing a halter top and most interestingly a color image of her lounging in the sand and wearing a striped bikini. While Mr. Jasgur could not have predicted where the then-unknown Norma Jeane Dougherty would end up, it is not hard to predict that these images will find their way into the public sphere along with all the others of one of America’s most cherished icons.

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