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Playboy to auction fine art works from collection

Notable items include Dali's "Playmate" and images of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.

Playboy will be auctioning a collection of its fine art works, which will include iconic original photographs, prints, cartoons and paintings featured in the magazine, in December.

Over 80 photographs, 24 cartoons and contemporary art work from the publisher will be available for sale.

Notable items include Salvador Dali's "Playmate," a 1966 watercolor of a reclining nude that hung in Playboy editor-in--chief Hugh Hefner's bedroom in the Playboy mansion, expected to fetch anywhere between $100,000-150,000, a photograph of comedian Dan Aykrod in a conehead costume with Pamela Anderson, the original Marilyn Monroe 1953 cover of Playboys' debut edition, an early 1960s picture of French model Brigitte Bardot and three Alberto Vargas pinup girl watercolor and pencil illustration boards.

The highest valued work, expected to draw in $2m to $3m is the famous 1996 oil of a scarlet-lipstick mouth by pop artist Tom Wesselmann - "Mouth No. 8".

Several of the magazine's layout boards with markings and comments by art directors will also go on sale, in addition to original centerfolds of Anna Nicole Smith, Jenny McCarthy and Anderson.

The auction, titled "The Year of the Rabbit" will be conducted by international art auctioneer Christie's on 8 December.

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Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.