Gold 'Viagra' ring and first Playboy issue sold in Hefner auction

Items sold in the auction include a red smoking jacket, a white captain's hat and cufflinks, all worn by the late Hugh Hefner.
Items sold in the auction include a red smoking jacket, a white captain's hat and cufflinks, all worn by the late Hugh Hefner.PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - A red smoking jacket worn by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner fetched US$41,600 (S$57,050) at an auction of the late publisher's possessions in Los Angeles, as fans and collectors snapped up such items as his college typewriter and the magazine's first issue.

Bidders at the two-day auction conducted by Julien's Auctions included comedian Jim Belushi, who purchased a leather-bound script for a 1977 Saturday Night Live show that Hefner hosted for US$3,125, the auction house said.

The highest grossing item was the typewriter, which he used to write copy for the magazine's first issue in 1953. It went for US$162,500, while his personal copy of the issue itself, featuring Marilyn Monroe, sold for US$31,250.

Hefner, who helped usher in the 1960s sexual revolution with his magazine and nightclubs, died in September 2017 at age 91. He left his property to his foundation, which put some of the items up for sale.

Among the more unusual items was a gold ring with a compartment holding a blue Viagra pill, the medication that allows men with to maintain an erection when they otherwise might not be able to. That sold for US$22,400.

Hefner's complete set of bound volumes of the magazine, from 1953 to 2013, sold for US$76,800.

His white captain's hat went for US$19,200. A 1962 letter from future feminist leader Gloria Steinem, who took an undercover job as a playboy bunny at Hefner's New York nightclub and wrote about it for Show magazine, sold for US$22,400.

 

The proceeds from the Nov 30 to Dec 1 auction will go to Hefner's foundation, which was set up in 1964 to advocate for civil liberties, including LGBT rights and the legalisation of medical marijuana, the auction house said.