A Brief History of Playboy Magazine|
Playboy was originally set to be called Stag Party but a last minute of inspiration, and some possible legal ramifications, called up the name, "Playboy". Hefner and co-founder and executive vice president Eldon Sellers met to discuss the problem and to seek a new name. Sellers, whose mother had worked for the short-lived Playboy Automobile Company in Chicago, suggested the name "Playboy". Uncertain as to its success, the first issue is undated - just in case it had to serve as the second issue as well.
December 1953 #1
The first issue, published in December 1953, did not carry a date, as Hefner was unsure whether there would be a second issue. It was produced in Hefner's Hyde Park kitchen. The first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe, although the picture used had originally been taken for a calendar, rather than for Playboy, and was originally named the sweetheart of the month. Estimated circulation was 53,991 (Source: Playboy Collector's Association Playboy Magazine Price Guide). There are unsubstantiated rumors that up to 30,000 were destroyed by law enforcement officials, and that there were 3 DIFFERENT printings of Issue 1 (The Normal Issue, the Red Star Issue, and the Page 3 Issue) The cover price was 50¢. Copies of the first issue in Mint to Near Mint condition sell for thousands of dollars, and a copy of the first issue of Playboy, autographed by Joe DiMaggio supposedly sold at a Sotheby's auction for over $40,000. Some estimate that only a couple hundred Near Mint issues still exist.
Playboy magazine back issues from the early 1950's are among the most valuable collectors items, particularly when the copies are in VFine condition. Popularity is also high for December Issues, as well as January and Playmate Of The Month issues. As seen elsewhere on the website, Hardcovers, NS Specials, Puzzles, Femlin Memorabilia and UNIQUE products command high dollars from collectors.