A silky red robe. A Playboy magazine with Marilyn Monroe on the cover. A gold ring with a hidden compartment containing a Viagra pill. These treasures belonging to Hugh Hefner were among items that bidders walked away with over the weekend.
Fans, celebrities, universities and museums paid more than $3 million in a live auction for some of the late media magnate’s possessions, said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions.
The top-selling item was Hefner’s college typewriter, which he used in 1953 when he began building the Playboy empire. It sold for $162,500.
Hefner’s own collection of Playboy magazines, including his copy of the first edition, sold for between $35 and $40,000 each.
The proceeds, Nolan said, will go to the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, which supports organizations that advocate for 1st Amendment rights and sex and drug policies.
The auction was planned shortly after Hefner’s death in September 2017, Nolan said. His wife, a daughter and a son attended.
“We had to clear the entire mansion, and we spent the year curating the auction, photographing and cataloging everything,” he said.
Other items for sale included pinball machines, a jukebox, Hefner’s Monopoly board game and the 1977 script for the “Saturday Night Live” episode he hosted, Nolan said. “SNL” alum and comedian Jim Belushi walked away with that one for $3,125.
The auction was preceded by a VIP party for 700 guests, Nolan said. The venue was decorated to look like the entrance of the Playboy mansion, and items were placed on red carpets throughout the space.
“It was a tribute to Hefner himself, a celebration of the empire he built,” Nolan said. “It was such a wonderful evening … [celebrating] fun and freedom. I think that’s what Hugh Hefner would have wanted.”