DescriptionPlayboy #1 (HMH Publishing, 1953) Condition: FN. This ranks as one of the nicer copies we have ever offered of the groundbreaking magazine. Founder Hugh Hefner was definitely on to something in 1953 when he saw his publishing dreams come to fruition with an issue that was basically put together in his apartment on a shoestring budget, largely money borrowed from family and friends. From a printing of just over 50,000 copies for issue #1, Playboy's print run reached 5 million within 15 years.
It's come to be known as "the Marilyn issue" because of the inclusion of an iconic nude photo of a young Marilyn Monroe as the first centerfold. Actually, it wasn't technically a centerfold, since it took up just one page, but it was the start of the feature that more than any other became associated with the fledgling publication -- the Playmate of the Month.
Of course the Playmate feature was complemented by the smartest blend of cartoons, interviews, fiction, music, sports, fashion, sexy pictorials, and other timely non-fiction articles ever seen in a magazine before, a magazine that quickly became known succinctly as "Entertainment for Men."
Hefner knew what he wanted -- essentially what millions of other men would appreciate in a magazine. And although at 27 years old he was relatively young to be launching such an ambitious project, he had already been "publishing" for nearly 20 years. His first endeavor was a neighborhood newspaper he printed and sold (at 1¢ a copy) when he was just eight years old!
The winning formula was evident with the very first issue. In the initial, abbreviated form of just 42 pages, Hef presented the Marilyn nude, a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a sports article -- "The Return of the All-Purpose Back," a music piece on Big Band legends the Dorsey Brothers, and a cartoon gallery by noted cartoonist Virgil Partch, "VIP On Sex."
With such a low initial print run, the passage of time and normal wear and tear has reduced the number of copies this nice to a quantity that's becoming more and more challenging to accommodate collectors. Our offering has mild wear around the edges, but displays clean and bright front and back covers, which, because of the predominant white backgrounds, are often found in less attractive states.
The inside pages, including the Marilyn nude, are even nicer, very well-preserved in a copy that appears remarkably fresh for its age. There are two marks on the front cover that easily escape one's first review. "#1" was printed lightly in ink just above the "Y" in the Playboy logo, and "53" was printed just to the right of Marilyn's left pinkie finger. You may have a hard time finding either marking on our website images.
Don't let this fine specimen of a supremely collectible book go by without your bidding!
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