Items Of Marilyn Monroe And Hugh Hefner Head To Auction

Items of Marilyn Monroe and Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner are going under the hammer, including a dress from “The Seven Year Itch” and an original Andy Warhol silkscreen of the Playboy Bunny. 

Julien’s Auctions has recently announced that items from renowned Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe and founder of Playboy magazine Hugh Hefner will be going under the hammer in a one-of-a-kind auction entitled “Icons: Playboy, Hugh Hefner, and Marilyn Monroe.” The two figures are arguably among the most significant of 20th-century America with their respective contributions to pop culture. 

Highlights from the  “Icons: Playboy, Hugh Hefner, and Marilyn Monroe" will be heading to Hong Kong and Shanghai for two special exhibitions before going under the hammer
Highlights from the “Icons: Playboy, Hugh Hefner, and Marilyn Monroe” will be heading to Hong Kong and Shanghai for two special exhibitions before going under the hammer

The auction will take place from March 28 to March 30 in Los Angeles and online through Julien’s Auctions. Prior to this, the auction house will be presenting the sale’s highlights in Shanghai and Hong Kong for the very first time in two museum-like exhibitions. The first will be at the Fringe Club in Hong Kong from January 27 to February 1, and the second will be in Shanghai’s K11 Art Mall from March 6 through March 17. The pieces will then return to Los Angeles for their auction. 

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Two Blazing Stars

Marilyn Monroe and Hugh Hefner were both born in 1926, and though they never crossed paths in person, they’re lives and legacies are inextricably linked. The two figures gained worldwide recognition when Monroe appeared on the cover of Hefner’s inaugural 1953 issue of Playboy

Marilyn Monroe in her pink Pucci dress
Marilyn Monroe in her pink Pucci dress

This began Playboy’s journey to international fame and success, and cemented Monroe’s fame and legacy—both as a household name and enduring beauty symbol. Both have made an indelible mark on the world as many continue to honor and admire their achievements, even long after their passing. In 1992, Hefner even purchased a tomb next to that of Monroe’s in Westwood Village Memorial Park, Los Angeles. As per NPR, this became his final resting place upon his passing in 2017. 

A young Hugh Hefner, the founder and EIC of Playboy magazine, by a Playboy plane
A young Hugh Hefner, the founder and EIC of Playboy magazine, by a Playboy plane

Hefner Classics 

Highlights from Hefner’s collection include valuable works of art and stylish items from his closet. Among them is a ensemble consisting of Hugh Hefner’s classic smoking jacket, silk pajamas, slippers, and tobacco pipe that may fetch $2,000 to $3,000, as well as an original “Playboy Bunny” silkscreen by Andy Warhol. 

The set of Hugh Hefner’s classic smoking jacket, silk pajamas, slippers, and tobacco pipe will be going under the hammer
The set of Hugh Hefner’s classic smoking jacket, silk pajamas, slippers, and tobacco pipe will be going under the hammer

Other works of art include various drawings and paintings by American artist LeRoy Neiman, including an oil on canvas piece entitled “Romanoffs” ($60,000 to $80,000) and a mixed media drawing of the New York skyline ($8,000 to $10,000). Also included is a watercolor drawing of a Vargas girl pinup ($30,000 to $40,000) by Alberto Vargas, the Peruvian-American painter. 

Marilyn’s Wardrobe

No auction for a prominent Hollywood star is complete without beautiful outfits from some of their most popular films. Four of Monroe’s outfits serve as highlights of her auction. The first is a Mae West-inspired black and cellophane effect evening gown by legendary costume designer William Travilla, which Monroe wore during the filming of 1955’s The Seven Year Itch. Julien’s Auctions expects the piece to fetch $100,000 to $200,000. 

Meanwhile, the second outfit is a costume Monroe wore for a pictorial feature as Lillian Russell in the December 1958 issue of Life magazine, which Richard Avedon photographed. The piece is a lavender satin boned leotard that features a neckline with bouquets of fabric flowers, as well as pink, lavender, and cream chiffon sashes. The auction house estimates it’ll fetch $20,000 to $40,000. 

The third of four prominent outfits is a cream-colored Jean Louis silk jersey cocktail dress, which Monroe wore to a press conference for her 1961 Western romance, The Misfits. Julien’s auctions expects the piece to sell for $40,000 to $60,000. Lastly, there’s the actress’ long-sleeved pink dress of silk jersey (with a rope and crystal tassel belt), which may also fetch $40,000 to $60,000.

Objects of Importance

More precious belongings of the star will be part of the auction, including a polka dot umbrella she used in a 1949 photo shoot on Jones Beach ($20,000 to $40,000), Monroe’s custom shade of Elizabeth Arden lipstick in a gold tone case with typewritten label ($7,000 to $9,000), and a floret-styled brooch of simulated diamonds ($8,000 to $10,000), among many other items. 


Photos courtesy of Julien’s Auctions; Banner photos courtesy of Julien’s Auctions, edited by Agatha Romero.

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