The Hugh Hefner Auction: A Playmate reviews a lifetime of Playboy memories

How do you sum up a man’s legacy in one auction? The answer is you don’t, especially if it’s Hugh Marston Hefner, a man who changed the world with his views on sexuality, freedom of speech and human rights. He was an artist, a writer, an activist, a rebel and a rule breaker. And yes, he loved women. Playboy Magazine was more than a book with nude photos, it was a lifestyle all dreamed up in the head of one man, a man I deeply admired and miss sorely.

This week, Julien’s Auctions in Los Angeles will sell off a lifetime of memorabilia, all associated with Hefner and his life and loves. If the proceeds weren’t going (100%) to his foundation, The Hugh Marston Hefner Foundation, it would make me a little sad. I know when my mom and dad passed, I kept each and every little thing they touched, but then that’s me–a sentimentalist perhaps to a fault.

The auction catalog itself is a work of art. Two catalogs weighing over 10 lbs., totaling nearly 1000 pages encased within a gorgeous cloth-covered crimson slipcase with the word HEF (in his handwriting) emblazoned across the front in gold. I will treasure this. (Cost–$250)

Inside, I found items I would expect to see, his silk pajamas, his monogrammed slippers, personal effects like hankies, his iconic pipe, oodles of cufflinks and lots of stuffed animals and bunny figurines–Hef, for sure, was always a child at heart.

I also came across some more interesting lots like the original brass plaque that hung outside the door at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. In Latin it reads, “If you don’t swing, don’ ring.” (Estimated to sell for between $400-$600)

Hef was crazy about Marilyn Monroe, as witnessed by her placement on the cover of the first magazine in 1954. He’s even buried next to her in L.A. So, it was no surprise to see a lot of images and other items related to Marilyn–including Hef’s personal copy of the first issue (estimated at $3-5000) and prints by Bert Stern of the original pinup.

There are also scale models of his childhood home on N. New England Ave. in Chicago($4-600) and models of the Mansion on State Street and his famous DC-9, The Big Bunny.

Other items of interest included a rendering of the Playboy Bunny logo envisioned by Art Paul. It’s simply signed “For Hef.” (estimate $3-5000). Hef’s IBM Selectric ($800-1200); his original PB Club key ($300-500); an HMH branding iron (??!!!) ($200-400); the water slides from his famous July 4th celebrations ($600-800); the Chesterfield sofa from the movie room where we all watched countless reruns of his favorite film “Casablanca” (estimated at $1000-2000); clay fixtures from the famous (infamous) Grotto; the “Playmates at Play” sign that was placed along the driveway on the way up to the Mansion ($400-600); Hef’s custom limo ($8000-$10,000); his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star (which oddly enough, was kept on the Mansion grounds ($10-20,000); an original bulb from the Hollywood sign that Hef helped to save ($300-500); a collection of Barbi Benton albums (anyone?); lots of games, especially his beloved backgammon; a Lakers 1980 World Championship ring (gifted to Hef by Jerry Buss) (estimated at $2000-4000); a sculpture of Farrah Fawcett’s torso by Fawcett herself; Hef’s original comic artwork and a LeRoy Neiman portrait of Hef ($10,000–$20,000). A favorite of mine is the pinball machine with my friend Patti McGuire Connors and Sondra Theodore’s image with Hef on it (estimate $2000-4000).

I was excited to see my iconic roller skating photo (with fellow Playmates Terri Welles and Victoria Cooke with Hef) included to promote a lot that included one of his roller skates (sadly, not the ones he’s wearing in the image) and a monogrammed bowling ball.

A couple of other items caught my eye. How ’bout an acrylic sculpture of a bottle of baby oil that read’s “Hefner’s Baby Oil”….($300-500). Or a book “Highlights in the Sex Life of Hugh Marston Hefner” that’s blank inside–obviously, a gift from a friend that I’m sure Hef got a big kick out of.

So many memories. Darren Julien, owner of Julien’s Auctions, said, “It was like clearing Neverland all over again.” Julien’s had the consignment for Michael Jackson’s estate as well.

The proceeds will all benefit Hefner’s foundation that supports organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties with special emphasis on first amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.

Going once, going twice…..SOLD! (To view Nov.30/Dec. 1 auction lots, click here.)

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