Amidst all the commotion and easy avenues to get distracted, it's important to be reminded of the obvious. There are names and faces and brands that have become so commonplace that we forget there was a singular entity behind the movement. There was / is a person behind the scenes making all of that happen. Their likeness has become synonymous with their medium, but the marketplace does not paint them in a similar light as others. Because of their status, there are rarely dips in the sales data of icons.

In light of these iconic holding values, we would like to start a recurring article where we focus on these people and a few of their collectible assets. All while painting a more vivid picture of the person behind the images and the stories. There is still plenty of make-believe at play here, just not quite as much as the pages of a Marvel comic book today.

Coming at you from the land of made-real, there is an unavoidable rise in the number of Marilyn Monroe collectibles passing through the data we accumulate here at GoCollect. Most suitably to us is her commanding presence in the world of magazines. If it isn't her image or her words -- whether authorized or unauthorized, posthumous or antemortem -- then it is her legacy, and the world she left for us simply by being herself in her own.

"I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it"

The data shows a perfect combination of the fragile Norma Jean, gleaming with young and delicate womanhood; and Miss Monroe, the calculated and intentional release of femininity. More than 60 years after her passing, it would be her sexual authority that has run her up the flagpole of America. She has remained in the wind ever since.

Not every one of these magazines has graded sales data, but that is just a matter of time. All of these issues are considered rising stock and can be hunted down as raw copies.

Family Circle (April 26, 1946)

Marilyn had a little lamb. But soon she'd have the world. At the time of this publication, 20-year old Norma Jeane Daugherty was less than a year away from her first film appearance, and miles away from Monroe. This is the first US magazine cover to ever feature her image. There are only a handful of CGC graded copies in existence, and the notation of her first cover is included on the label. This is a must have for any collector of Marilyn Monroe and beyond.

Picture Post (March 26, 1949)

This 1949 UK cover on Picture Post shows us one last glimpse at America's girl next door. Photographer Andre de Dienes shot this famous beachside session just months before Monroe would begin work on several feature projects in Hollywood. Pre-fame Marilyn Monroe imagery is very rare and highly sought by collectors, but foreign publications like this are typically an affordable selection. Monroe would feature on the cover on this publication a few times in 1949.

Picturegoer (August 9, 1952)

The Loneliest Star in Hollywood was also one of the hardest working. This image was taken on the set of We're Not Married and routinely sells for 10x the cost of any surrounding issues of this weekly film publication. Those are the kind of values her imagery commands no matter what publication you are looking at purchasing. There aren't many behind the scenes options like this one that show her in her craft.

Cosmopolitan (May 1953)

This cover of Cosmopolitan was released on the brink of her Hollywood white-hot stardom. America was about to realize that gentlemen prefer blondes and that specifically meant Marilyn. There is a finite amount of content that Monroe authorized during her lifetime, and this Cosmo cover captures her in a way bridges the girl next door and the enduring symbol of sexuality she is soon to become.

Playboy (December 1953)

The obvious go-to here isn’t necessarily the easiest to explain. Without a doubt, Playboy would be in the centerfold of a textbook on American history, creating an irrevocable impact on how sexuality is discussed and exhibited in popular culture. Is it rightfully so that the inaugural issue carries the major asterisk of consent? The images that launched Playboy magazine were obtained and published without any prior and informed knowledge of Monroe, and she was never paid any more than the $50 she received when the photos were originally taken.

Simply put, that wouldn’t fly these days; but back then, it could create an empire. The market has never seemed to mind this information much - which I do and don’t find surprising – given that authentic Marilyn interviews and magazine covers are the most coveted and highest valued. Because like I said, it’s Playboy.

And it should be known that both Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Hefner, although they would never meet in the flesh, were respective of one another's craft. Marilyn did publicly acknowledge the non-consensual union as amplifying her own respective career.

From “Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words:”

I never even received a thank-you from all those who made millions off a nude Marilyn photograph. I even had to buy a copy of the magazine to see myself in it … I admitted it was me who posed for that nude calendar even when the Fox executives became nervous and believed this would cause the ruination of any films I would appear in and also the end of my movie career. Of course they were wrong. The fans, my public, cheered when I admitted it was me, and that calendar and that Playboy first-issue publicity helped my career.

Collecting isn't always easy on the finances, but it should be this easy on the eyes.