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The Sabrina Nudie Card Saga

18 November 2012

It is with a touch of sadness that I present the (nearly) complete nude Sabrina photo set taken around 1952. Sad, because any long-term mission that finally ends has more regret than satisfaction since the thrill of the chase is over.

But I must thank Graham of England, of venerable age, who emailed to say that in his 20s he purchased the set of five naughty Sabrina nudie cards at a naughty London shop and kept them in perfect condition ever since.

He was kind enough to sell them to me at a fair price, allowing young and old men alike to finally see what all the fuss was about. And what a big, well-rounded fuss it was.

The scans of the photos have been edited because even 60 years after the event Sabrina still hates them.

Sabrina nude 1Sabrina nude 2Sabrina nude 3
Sabrina nude 4Sabrina nude 5

Sabrina - Norma Sykes

But the hunt may still be on! The picture above is still to be found.
I don't think Russell Gay would have taken only 6 shots during that famous photo session.
There must be even more photos still out there, lurking in the sock drawers of elderly peers of the realm!


And delving back into older times, here is the history of Sabrina nudiness

All right. Hold your breath. This is BIG.

For the first time on any internet.

We - well, I - bring you a vintage and previously-unknown photograph of Norma Ann Sykes, aged just 16 in a cold (you can see the goosepimples) studio being photographed by Russell Gay in a photoshoot that led to the infamous FIVE OF SPADES.

Such a powerful pose for a sixteen year old girl. Russell Gay certainly knew how to use his camera, and young Norma certainly knew how to present herself to it.

12 July 2011 - I have taken down the full, uncut image at Sabrina's request.

Thanks to 'The Producer' we now present, for the first time in recorded history, the uncensored nudie cards that shocked Britain and outraged Sabrina.

Click any card below to see the nudie gallery.


Yes, Norma Ann Sykes posed nude for photographers when she was 16, alone and hungry before her break as 'Sabrina'. The question is: did she later really regret it, or did she turn it into a blockbuster publicity exploit? The press and her friends seem to believe the latter...

The bowdlerised 5 of spades.

Other nudies are not featured on the cards...
Click them to read the article in Lowdown

When Sabrina was shot in the nude!
Lowdown, July 1956

And the accidental nudie here

Further references on this site - in nudological order

"A spokesman for the card manufacturing company was more pleased than worried about the latest uproar. "We're not worried," he said "All the pictures are respectable and have been seen by Scotland Yard. The models have no grounds for complaint. All copyright is being taken care of. The sets are going very well both in Britain and overseas." (Associated Press, 8 Jan 56)

"I thought if I posed for pictures in the nude it would. help me to be success in modelling," she told police and Pressmen. "I was hungry and alone and didn't know what I know now. "Now these photographs could ruin me. I have everything to live for and I think it's terrible that unscrupulous people are trying to take advantage of something I did when I was just a kid." (People, 1955)

"The fact of the matter is that jobs are going a'begging in Britain. We have a shortage of help. Norma (Sabrina) Sykes could have gotten any honest labor she wished." (Lowdown, 1956)

"An American actor [Steve Cochran] who got to know Sabrina quite well on a recent London visit claimed Sabrina even welcomed the exposure. "She saw her chance for a terrific piece of Marilyn Monroe kind of publicity and grabbed it," he grinned." (Picture Digest Oct 1956)

Norma has an embarrassing but well-padded skeleton in her closet in the shape of the nudes she posed for before making her debut as the sexy by sweet Sabrina. One of these nudes turned up on the five of spades in a deck of playing cards for which Russell Gay provided the 52 alluring illustrations.

When card players all over England began doing tricks with her nude body Sabrina exploded via her lawyer. Writs flew thick and fast until a mutual friend persuaded the artist and the model to get together and settle their differences amicably. With every one of her 40 inches quivering with indignation, Sabrina turned up for the pow-wow ready to give Gay a piece of her mind... (Art and Photography, May 1957)

"She had the naive belief that no one would recognise her undraped" (Sir! Sep 57)


"Evidently the head of the BBC was not among the [nudie card] collectors, because shortly after that he had Sabby barred from further appearances on the government TV channel. It wasn't that he objected to the publicity about the purple pictures. It was just that there's no way of concealing the scale of Sabrina's upper assets" (Sir! Sep 59)

"I thought they would help me be a success at modelling. I was hungry and alone and didn't know what I know now. I didn't want to go home and admit failure." (QT, 1961)

The squatting nude profile that graced the five of spades in this series soon became a collector's item when Sabrina personally destroyed as many copies as she could find in London shops. "I was only a kid of 16 when those photos were taken," she explained to a Scotland Yard investigator after her rampage. "I was not going to admit defeat to my parents and ask them for train fare home." ('Bombshells')


17 July 2011 - Sabrina admits in our third interview that she agreed to the photos to earn some shillings to feed her dog Shane. She herself was living on tinned tomato soup, but she couldn't let her German Shepherd live on soup. She also again denied that she tore up cards in shops: she did ask to buy them all, but could not afford them.

Sabrina and dog Shane

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[Sabrina and Shane]

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Last Changed: Sunday, November 18, 2012 2:46 PM

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