The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Playboy prize assets up for grabs

Playboy, famous for displaying women in various stages of undress, is to celebrate 50 years in business by selling some of its prize assets.

It may have escaped the notice of many of the magazine’s readers down the years, but Playboy has included writing from such authors as Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury and Arthur C Clarke.

Fleming’s James Bond novel On Her Majesty's Secret Service was first published in the magazine in 1963. The proofs are among more than 300 items to be auctioned at Christie’s in New York and are expected to fetch up to £16,000. The auction, on December 17 will also include more than 70 original prints of photographs, such as an early portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andre De Dienes and John Derek’s nude picture of his wife, Bo, which is expected to fetch up to £4,500.

Paintings, drawings and cartoons used to illustrate the magazine are included in the sale along with some small, black-covered address books of Hugh Hefner, the magazine’s founder, from the late 1950s. They are estimated at up to £8,000 apiece.

Few things have enraged Hefner’s critics more than the bunny costumes worn by hostesses in his clubs and, inevitably, the sale includes one of these, which could sell for as much as £4,000. Playboy Inc. chairman and CEO Christie Hefner said the collection would commemorate the anniversary and “introduce our heritage for a new generation of fans.”

Other items to be auctioned include works by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Vladimir Nabokov, Jean Paul Sartre and Hunter S. Thompson and letters from actress Joan Crawford. “It will prove there were millions of men who did read it for the articles,” joked Christie Hefner about the magazine famed for bringing eroticism to a mainstream audience.

Photography, memorabilia, art from contributors such as LeRoy Neiman, Alberto Vargas and Gahan Wilson and a custom Mercedes limousine that belonged to publisher and founder Hugh Hefner will be included in the sale.

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