Dwight D. Eisenhower is sworn in as the 34th president of the United States. Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke in early March and dies four days later. Fighting in the Korean War ends. U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Newport, R.I. Virologist Jonas Salk announces his successful test of the polio vaccine. Ian Fleming publishes his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. Howard Hawks’ musical film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe, and Walt Disney’s Peter Pan are released in theaters. Nearly 72 percent of all TV sets in the United States tune in to I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth to Little Ricky.
Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale introduces the world to British Secret Service agent James Bond. A first edition from London’s Jonathan Cape publishing house, inscribed by Fleming (1908-1964), sold for $50,787 at an October 2009 Heritage auction.
MODERN & CONTEMPORARY ART
Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is one of the foremost modernists of the 20th century, with a unique style that blends richly colored folk art with Cubism, Surrealism and imagery drawn from the Russian Christian icon tradition. His Saint-Germain-des-Prés, an oil on canvas completed in 1953, sold for $275,000 at a May 2015 Heritage auction.
With photos of Marilyn Monroe originally taken for a wall calendar, Hugh Hefner (1926-2017) publishes the first issue of Playboy magazine. A copy of the issue, graded CGC NM 9.4, sold for $71,700 at a May 2016 auction.
Franklin half-dollars were minted from 1948 to 1963. A 1953 example, the only PR68 Ultra Cameo of the 1950-1953 period, realized $63,250 at an August 2006 auction.