Julien’s Auctions, the world–record breaking auction house, will celebrate the rebel, entrepreneur and activist who launched the ground breaking men’s lifestyle magazine and built it into an empire by transforming Playboy into an iconic global brand. Property From The Collection Hugh M. Hefner will take place on Friday, November 30 and Saturday, December 1, 2018 live in Los Angeles and online at www.juliensauctions.com. It was also announced today that 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, Illinois. His parents had grown up in Nebraska and his father’s roots descended from the Massachusetts Puritans. 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 NYC, he decided to stay in Chicago and start a men’s magazine of his own. (photo top left: Hefner’s college typewriter)
In December 1953, with $8,000 cobbled together from family and friends, including $1,000 from his mother, Hefner published the first issue of Playboyfeaturing 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 clamoured to pose for the magazine that showcased beautiful women, lifestyle advice and some of the most acclaimed and famous journalism and literary pieces of all time including the first Playboy interview with Miles Davis conducted by Alex Haley, a 1965 sit down with Martin Luther King Jr., 1974’s “The Great Shark Hunt” by Hunter S. Thompson, fiction by Margaret Atwood and more. (photo right: Hefner’s Playboy Legacy Collection Gold and below left: his silk pajamas)
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.
Throughout the years, Playboy Enterprises expanded into television, film, resorts, nightclubs and consumer products, all of which were emblazoned with its iconic logo recognized all over the world – a silhouette of the head of a dapper, bow–tie–wearing rabbit. The Playboy empire included the ground–breaking syndicated television shows Playboy’s Penthouse (1959–1961) and Playboy After Dark (1969) hosted by Hefner and featuring iconic performers such as Sammy Davis Jr., Lenny Bruce, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, The Grateful Dead, James Brown and Ike and Tina Turner among others; and forty Playboy Club properties throughout the U.S. and in England and the Bahamas where stars such as Bob Hope, Ray Charles, Steve Allen, Ann–Margret, and Dizzy Gillespie performed. Playboywas the first national magazine to go online, back in 1994 and had successful international editions of the magazine in over two dozen countries. (photo top right: Hefner’s cufflinks and below left his captain’s hat)
Hefner was considered one of the most influential people in the 20th century and among the many honors and distinctions he received throughout his lifetime include the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the highest honor of the Magazine Publishers of America (2002); inductions into the Hall of Fame of the American Society of Magazine Editors (1998) and New York Friars Club (2001); a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Press Club (2011); two Guinness Book of World Records; a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star and more. Hefner died September 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, Lena Horne, and others (estimate: $10,000–$20,000)
- Hefner’s five large folio volumes of Salvador Dali’s “Biblia Sacra” (estimate: $8,000–$10,000)
- A custom 1974 Monopoly board game that includes a pipe smoking Hefner and a Playboy Bunny, among other Mansion regulars, custom Hefner Monopoly money, houses, hotels, cards and more in a custom wooden box marked “Monopoly Parts for HMH” (estimate: $6,000–$8,000) (photo right)
- 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 jacket (estimate: $3,000–$5,000) and silk pajamas (estimate: $1,000–$2,000)
- Hefner’s U.S. passport issued May 26, 2016 with a 1970 vaccination record from 1969–70, and 17 signed American Express Traveler’s Cheques (estimate: $3,000–$5,000)
- 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)
- A carved Briar pipe with custom Playboy Bunny logo (estimate: $2,000–$3,000)
- Hefner’s 1980 “N.B.A. World Champions” ring with one side engraved “NBA 1980” and on the other “Hefner/Los Angeles Lakers/123–102” (estimate: $2,000–$4,000)
- A scale model of Hefner’s childhood home in Chicago (estimate: $2,500–$3,500)
- Hefner’s Hollywood Walk of Fame Star from his mansion (estimate: $800–$1,200)
- His bronze Vanitas 1876 Harvard Lampoon medal (estimate: $1,000–$2,000)
- Hefner’s Asprey of London monogrammed “HH” leather travel backgammon set (estimate: $1,000–$2,000)
- Hefner’s leather bound Saturday Night Live script when he hosted the show on October 15, 1977 (estimate: $400–$600)
- An original vintage plate engraved “Si Non Oscillas Noli Tintinnare” from the Playboy Mansion in Chicago which translates to “If You Don’t Swing, Don’t Ring” (estimate: $400–$600)
- His vintage Underwood Standard Portable typewriter used in college (estimate: $300–$500)
- An original Playboy Club key with “HMH” and “C1” on the back (estimate: $300–$500)
- Hefner’s leather bound bible imprinted with his name on the cover and his American Secular Humanist Church ordained minister card (estimate: $200–$400)
- His Playboy logo cuff links, breakfast tray, white captain’s hat, monogrammed playing card deck holder, Playboy VIP card and more.
“Julien’s Auctions is honored to present this extraordinary auction event that celebrates pop culture icon Hugh Hefner, whose life and legacy truly embodied the American dream,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien’s Auctions.
“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,” added Christie Hefner, President of the HMH Foundation and former Chairman and C.E.O. of Playboy Enterprises.
The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation was established in 1964 to support efforts in defense of civil rights and civil liberties, with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.
The Foundation is a grant maker and has worked to push back the forces of censorship by providing funding for organizations such as the ACLU and People For the American Way, which work to litigate and lobby to enhance constitutional rights, and work to educate the public on the importance of maintaining a broad concept of the First Amendment. The Foundation also seeks an end to the failed war on drugs by supporting organizations that advocate for treating the problem as a public health matter such as the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project.
The Foundation also supports specific projects that further its mission. Recently, a grant to Brandeis University allowed the school to acquire, archive and make available to scholars, students and the public for the first time, the Lenny Bruce Archives. In response to his social satire in the ’60s, Bruce was targeted by the government and faced multiple legal battles that left him unable to work and ultimately caused his early death. In challenging the right of the government to ’criminalize’ speech, he helped to pave the way for future social satirists, comics and commentators. His collection of photographs, writings, transcripts, articles, audio materials, and trial materials are an important part of our country’s history of battles for freedom of expression.
Additionally, the Foundation is the sponsor of the annual Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Awards: a program that seeks to shine a light on individuals who have made significant contributions to society in the vital effort to protect and enhance First Amendment rights for all Americans. Since the first event in 1979, the Foundation has recognized over 150 individuals, many of whom are unsung heroes, including high school students, lawyers, librarians, journalists and educators.
Registering to Bid
Registration is required to bid in this live auction and can be done in person at the exhibition and auction, or online before the sale at the JuliensAuctions.com Registration page to bid by phone, proxy or in person, or online at JuliensLive.com to bid live online, or by calling (310) 836-1818.
There are four ways to bid in this sale:
- Bid through Julien’s Auctions Online Live in Real Time at JuliensLive.com.
- Bid over the telephone through an auction house representative.
- Submit a bid in person at the Julien’s Los Angeles Gallery.
- Enter Absentee bids. Absentee bid forms are printed in the back of each catalogue, and are also available by calling Julien’s Auctions or online www.juliensauctions.com.
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