When Hugh Hefner’s black SEL stretch limo pulls up to the front door of an L.A. locale, you usually know what kind of evening you’re in for. But this wasn’t the mansion or White Lotus or the Shelter Supper Club. The scene of this swinging soiree was stately Christie’s auction house in Beverly Hills. The upper-crust establishment, which usually concerns itself with Old Master Paintings, Louis XIV tapestries and Wedgwood tea sets, is showcasing a plethora of Playboy paraphernalia.
Playboy is celebrating the big 5-0 and, to mark the occasion, it has decided to put some cherished memorabilia on the auction block. Ever dreamed of wearing a bunny costume? Well, you can. That gorgeous fantasy get-up can be yours complete with cuffs, ears and fluffy cottontail. In addition to the usual goodies, the sale also contains a wide array of fascinating finds like personal letters penned by Peter Sellers, John Paul Getty and even the Chairman of the Board.
The joint was jumping as VIPs sipped Chivas and savored caviar Bellinis while they eyed the goods going up for grabs on Dec. 17.
To underscore the gravity of this historic occasion, Hef came with not six, not four, but just two buxom blonds in tow. When I demanded an explanation, an official from the entourage quipped, “What can I say? He’s traveling light tonight.”
As for the collection, Corporate Curator Aaron Baker described it as a tribute to Playboy’s impact on 20th Century culture. “Just look around,” he said. “It really shows how cutting edge we were.”
The famed men’s mag was founded in Chicago in 1953, and its first cover girl was the one and only Marilyn Monroe. A sexy string of lovelies followed in Marilyn’s stiletto heels, including 10s like Bo Derek, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Farrah Fawcett, and perennial crowd pleaser, Pam Anderson.
There were gelatin prints by legendary lensmen Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton, oils by LeRoy Neiman, toons of Little Annie Fanny, ranging in price from $600 to $60,000. You can even drive off with those historic hot wheels. Hugh’s luxury limo is also up for sale and, according to Christie’s President Andrea Fiuczynski, the lot includes a photo op, a private mansion tour and passes to the hottest ticket in town – Hef’s banging New Year’s Eve bash.
This lively little preview proved to be quite the crowd pleaser, but the curator was quick to point out there is more to come. “This is our 50th year,” he said with a wink “and we are going to have an extended celebration.”
So here’s to you Hef! Many hoppy returns!