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Playboy's Massive "Year Of The Rabbit" Art Auction (PHOTOS)

11/09/2010 10:52 am 10:52:04 | Updated May 25, 2011

125 artworks from Playboy magazine are being auctioned for a Dec. 8 auction at Christie's called "The Year of the Rabbit."

(AP): Nearly all the items in the sale have appeared in the publication, a cultural icon that helped liberate American sexual mores.

A Stephen Wayda 1996 cover photograph of Playmate of the Year Stacy Sanchez draped in white fabric in the shape of Playboy's bunny logo is initialed by Hugh Hefner and contains editorial comments like "move leg to this position" and "missing eye shadow."

"It's the tip of the iceberg," said Aaron Baker, curator of the Playboy Art Collection for the last eight years. Chicago-based Playboy houses an archive of 5,000 contemporary artworks and more than 20 million photographs in a storage building in the city.

The boards "really take you behind the scenes and show the editorial process," Baker said.

The sale has a number of Marilyn Monroe images, including a photograph that was used for the cover of Playboy's December 1953 premiere issue. The magazine purchased it from United Press, shot during a parade of Monroe riding on the back of a car. Playboy swapped out the background of a crowd for its own logo.

It shows Monroe with her arm raised "almost as if she was waving to the readers, inviting them into the pages of the book of these incredible nude shots of her that they had never seen before," Baker said.

CLICK THROUGH TO SEE IMAGES FROM THE AUCTION:

Playboy Auction
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