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WARSAW, Poland -April 20, 2001- Previously unpublished photographs of screen legend Marilyn Monroe are to be auctioned. The pictures are part of a collection owned the Polish state treasury, who now plans to sell thousands of unpublished photographs of Hollywood stars, including Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra.
The collection, by celebrated photographer Milton Greene, was acquired in 1995 by Poland's foreign debt agency from a U.S. businessman. It is said to contain about 300,000 negatives and several thousand prints and its value is several million dollars. Greene, who worked for magazines such as Life and Vogue, died in 1985.
The time is ripe to turn it into cash," said Piotr Grzeskiewicz, an administrator of the assets of the liquidated Foreign Debt Servicing Fund (FOZZ). "We have to decide on the best way to sell the collection," he said. "We do not want to spoil the market by flooding it with the photos." The best parts of the archive are the photos of Monroe, which Greene took between 1949 and 1956 when he was the star's friend and business partner, said Grzeskiewicz. Their partnership, which involved film production, ended in 1956 with Monroe's marriage to the playwright Arthur Miller. Grzeskiewicz said he expected a good price for the collection as Monroe memorabilia usually aroused strong interest, despite a disappointing response to a picture sale last month in the United States. Grzeskiewicz acquired Greene's collection from a businessman who had been used as a middleman in Polish debt buybacks. Grzeskiewicz said the man had failed to return the fund's money and instead handed over the collection.
Five nude photographs of Monroe failed to meet the reserve price at the Hollywood sale. Photographer Tom Kelley, whose father took the pictures in 1949, says he may put them up for auction again.
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