World / Social Issues

Hugh Hefner’s ‘Viagra Ring,’ first Playboy issue sold at auction in LA

AFP-JIJI

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.

Actor Jim Belushi paid $3,125 for a leather-bound copy of a script from an episode of classic U.S. 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, a 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 Dec. 17.