When a U.S. photographer bought two envelopes of negatives at a 1980 garage sale, he scored the bargain of a lifetime – but he didn’t even know it.
Anton Fury has unveiled never-before-seen images of a young Marilyn Monroe, which he purchased for $2 at a sale in Parsippany, New Jersey.
One envelope contained eight images, including several of the bikini-clad actress striking poses at a poolside photoshoot, and a photo of the famous blonde lying in a bed with a mystery man by her side.
The second envelope contained about 70 negatives of late actress Jayne Mansfield.
Unveiled: U.S. photographer Anton Fury has unveiled eight never-before-seen images of the actress
What a bargain! The negatives were purchased for a mere $2 at a New Jersey garage sale
It wasn’t until Fury took the packages home, and gave the black-and-white negatives a closer look that he realised his discovery – which he has kept secret for more than three decades, he told CNN.
Fury recalled: ‘I found an envelope of negatives, didn’t know what they were, but I realised they were old.
‘I took it home, put them on the lightboard with a loupe, and, needless to say, these are Marilyn,’ he said. ‘That was probably my greatest garage sale discovery ever.’
He kept the findings under wraps until last week, when he took them to Beverly Hills art dealer and appraiser David W Streets, who is experienced with Monroe archives.
Poolside: Images feature Monroe wearing two bathing suits, including a bikini
Pre-fame: Art appraiser David W Streets believes the photos were taken in 1950. Monroe would have been 24
While he is certain the images of the world’s most famous blonde are authentic, questions remain over who shot them and exactly when they were taken.
He suspects, in 1950, before her breakout roles in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve, when she sported a shorter hair style.
Monroe would have been 24.
Streets told CNN: ‘I’ve looked for early photographs, early test shots, magazine shots, books, and haven’t been able to find anything yet, so the mystery we’re just beginning to unravel.’
Rare finds: While one envelope contained the images of Monroe (seen here), a second contained about 70 negatives of late actress Jayne Mansfield
A lead: Monroe (seen here) and Mansfield were known to be friends, which could help art dealers uncover more details about the photos
He is sure, however, the images were taken in Los Angeles, citing the 1950s architecture and Hollywood Hills seen sloping in the background.
Streets is investigating leads as to who took the photos, noting there is one man pictured in both the Monroe and Mansfield photographs, who could be the photographer.
He explained: ‘We know that Monroe and Mansfield were here working at the same time, were contemporaries and friends. So, there’s an intertanglement there that we’re going to unravel.’
Mystery man: Streets is investigating leads as to who took the photos, noting there is one man pictured in both the Monroe and Mansfield photographs, who could be the photographer
For sale? Fury has not ruled out selling the images although he risks the mystery photographer revealing himself to make copyright claims by going public