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Hefner's 'Viagra Ring', first Playboy issue sold at auction

News Desk

Agence France-Presse

Los Angeles, United States | Mon, December 3, 2018 | 02:06 pm
Hefner's 'Viagra Ring', first Playboy issue sold at auction

In this file photo taken on November 26, 2018 late Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner's personal copy of the first Playboy issue featuring Marilyn Monroe is displayed as part of Julien's Auctions upcoming sale of his belongings in Beverly Hills, California. (AFP/Robyn Beck)

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner embraced a hedonistic lifestyle of smoking jackets, multiple "girlfriends" and lavish parties at his legendary mansion. Now, hundreds of fans have paid big bucks for a piece of the myth.

Items from the late publisher's personal collection -- from his typewriter to the first issue of his iconic magazine featuring Marilyn Monroe -- went under the hammer in Los Angeles in a two-day sale that ended Saturday.

The typewriter, which Hefner used at university and to write copy for the 1953 debut issue of Playboy, sold for $162,500. His personal copy of that issue went for $31,250, according to Julien's Auctions, which organized the sale.

Lucky collectors will soon be able to lounge like the Hef: one of his bespoke red silk smoking jackets sold for $41,600, and his "Viagra Ring" -- a 14-karat gold and onyx ring concealing the little blue pill -- was snapped up for $22,400.

Motorcycle jackets, a limo, a coin-operated jukebox, a pool table from the Playboy Mansion, even Hefner's Hollywood Walk of Fame star -- the array of items for sale was wide.

Hefner's slippers? Up for grabs. Silk pajamas in a range of colors? Yep. Bed linens? That too.

Read also: Hugh Hefner's trademark black pajamas to hit auction block

Actor Jim Belushi paid $3,125 for a leather-bound copy of a script from an episode of classic US sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" hosted by Hefner in 1977. Belushi's late brother John was part of the cast.

Hefner -- who helped usher nudity into the American mainstream with his trailblazing mass-market magazine, shattering taboos along the way -- died in September 2017 at the age of 91.

The magazine, recognizable worldwide for its voluptuous cover girls and its emblematic rabbit logo, became a sensation not long after hitting newsstands.

But beyond the glossy was the brand, a lucrative empire of nightclubs, television series and apparel. 

All proceeds from the auction will go to Hefner's foundation, which supports civil rights advocacy groups, with a special focus on freedom of speech issues -- a cause dear to the publisher's heart.

An online-only auction of more memorabilia -- a smaller selection than was available at the two-day auction -- will take place on December 17.

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