LOS ANGELES – Julien’s Auctions will celebrate the rebel, entrepreneur and activist who launched the groundbreaking men’s lifestyle magazine and built it into an empire by transforming Playboy into an iconic global brand. Property from the Collection of Hugh M. Hefner will take place on Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
All proceeds of the auction of the legendary magazine founder, who was recognized as one of the leading voices in the ongoing battles for freedom of expression, civil rights and sexual freedom, including reproductive and LGBT rights, will benefit the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation. Since its founding in 1964, the foundation has supported organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties, with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.
Hugh Marston Hefner was born on April 9, 1926, in Chicago. In high school, Hefner started chronicling his life in a long-running comic strip and reinvented himself as “Hef.” He also began exploring his love of film and publishing, shooting home horror movies and starting a student newspaper. After graduating in 1944, he served in the Army as an infantry clerk and continued his writing and cartooning in military newspapers. After the service, Hefner studied art, including anatomy, at the Art Institute of Chicago and then psychology at the University of Illinois, where he also drew cartoons for the daily newspaper and edited the campus humor magazine, Shaft where he introduced a new feature called Coed of the Month. While in graduate school at Northwestern University, Hefner wrote a paper on sex laws in America and continued to sell his cartoons at various publications. He worked at Esquire magazine as a copywriter, but when they moved their offices to New York, he decided to stay in Chicago and start a men’s magazine of his own.
In December 1953, with $8,000 cobbled together from family and friends, including $1,000 from his mother, Hefner published the first issue of Playboy featuring a nude pinup shot of Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold. The issue sold more than 50,000 copies and a publishing phenomenon was born. Celebrities and models clamored to pose for the magazine that showcased beautiful women, lifestyle advice and literary pieces.
Beyond being editor-publisher of the magazine, Hefner embodied the Playboy philosophy and image, flanked by beautiful Playboy Bunnies and hosting legendary parties with the rich and famous at the Playboy mansions in Chicago and Los Angeles, dressed in his trademark smoking jacket and silk pajamas, smoking a pipe.
Hefner died Sept. 27, 2017, at the age of 91 of natural causes.
Some highlights of the auction include:
– Hugh Hefner’s complete personal set of bound volumes of Playboy magazines; estimate: $20,000–$40,000.
– Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Legacy Collection Gold, a limited edition set of 48 chromogenic and gelatin silver prints by various photographers in a folio wooden case with gold embossed title, published in 2007; estimate: $20,000–$30,000.
– A vintage 1946 coin–operated Wurlitzer jukebox programmed by Hefner from his game house containing 24 original 78 rpm record albums by artists such as Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra, Harry James, Johnny Mercer and Lena Horne; estimate: $10,000–$20,000.
– Hefner’s five large folio volumes of Salvador Dali’s Biblia Sacra; estimate: $8,000–$10,000.
– Artist Bill Mack’s portrait of Hefner painted in commemoration of the restoration of the Hollywood Sign in 1978; estimate: $4,000–$6,000.
– Hefner’s bespoke smoking jackets; estimate: $3,000–$5,000 each.
– Hefner’s portrait of Shannon Tweed painted by Leroy Neiman; estimate: $3,000–$5,000.
– His custom black leather Jeff Hamilton Lakers motorcycle jacket with “Lakers” and “Playboy” logos; estimate: $3,000–$5,000.
– Hefner’s personal copy of the first issue of Playboy magazine, in 1953 featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover; estimate: $3,000–$5,000.
– Hefner’s first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1925); estimate: $3,000–$4,000.
His vintage Underwood Standard Portable typewriter used in college; estimate: $300–$500.
His Playboy logo cufflinks, breakfast tray, white captain’s hat, monogrammed playing card deck holder, Playboy VIP card and more.
“Whether it was building his company into one of the most recognizable global brands in history or standing up for social, sexual and civil rights causes, my father lived an extraordinary life as a publishing, social and cultural pioneer and left a legacy that his Foundation will perpetuate. We are very proud to announce that 100 percent of the auction proceeds will benefit the Foundation that works to advance his life’s commitment to individual rights in a free society,” said daughter Christie Hefner, president of the HMH Foundation and former chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises.