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Dec. 18, 2003

Playboy artifacts haul in the green
Neiman painting gets record $107,550 at Christie's auction
posted by Wire Reports

Compiled from wire reports (12/18/03) - Cashing in on Playboy magazine's 50th anniversary celebration, auction house Christie's International held an auction of cartoons, manuscripts and photographs from the highly successful men's magazine archives on Wednesday. Playboy showed its considerable appeal by realizing more than $2.7 million in the one-day event.

Tom Wesselmann's "Study for the Great American Nude, #87" (1966) soared above its pre-sale estimate of between $40,000 and $60,000 to fetch $107,550, a figure also paid for LeRoy Neiman's "Man at His Leisure - Le Mans, 1969," a world record for a Neiman painting.

Other items auctioned Wednesday included cartoons by Shel Silverstein and painted "Vargas girls" by artist Alberto Vargas. Vargas' "Vargas Girl - Trick or Treat?" (1967) was the top-selling Vargas Girl artifact, fetching $71,600, also a world record for a "Vargas girl" painting.

The sale also included original manuscripts by literary figures who have written for Playboy over its 50-year history including Jack Kerouac, Ian Fleming and Ray Bradbury.

The top seller among them was Kerouac's typed manuscript of "Before the Road," a prequel to his famous "On the Road," which sold for $71,700. The manuscript contains corrections in Kerouac's handwriting and is signed by the author.

A collection of cartoons by Shel Silverstein, Among the Hippies, sold for $65,724. Christies had predicted the collection would go for $6,000 to $8,000.

Playboy's centerfold in the inaugural issue, a 1953 color photograph of Marilyn Monroe by Tom Kelley, sold for $17,925.

A Mercedes limousine owned by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner went for $77,675. The winning bidder for that automobile received an invitation to a New Year's Eve party at the Playboy mansion.

Hefner's personal "little black book" of phone numbers and contacts used by the famed swinger in 1956 caught a very reasonable $9,560.

A 1960s vintage, emerald green, satin Playboy bunny suit sold for $14,340.


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