Book Fairs | January 15, 2019

Books from the Private Library of Hugh Hefner to be Offered at Rare Books LA

Pasadena, California - Rare Books LA, an antiquarian book, fine print, and photography fair featuring more than 120 specialist dealers from around the world, will showcase books from the private library of Hugh M. Hefner (1926-2017). The Playboy founder was a champion of First Amendment rights who launched the groundbreaking men’s lifestyle magazine and built it into an empire by transforming Playboy into an iconic global brand.

Books from Hefner’s library will be offered for sale by johnson rare books & archives, located in Booth 718 at Rare Books LA, which is being held at the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green Street. The event is open to the public on Friday, February 1 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, February 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Opening night tickets are $20 with all proceeds benefitting The Huntington Library. Saturday show tickets are $10 and can be purchased on site or through the website:

“My father’s book collection showcases some of the extraordinary contributors to Playboy magazine through the decades, including Gahan Wilson, Shel Silverstein, George Plimpton, David Halberstam, Helmut Newton and Gay Talese," said Hefner’s daughter Christie Hefner. 

Along with books by these writers, one of the most iconic books from Hefner’s library being offered at Rare Books LA is an inscribed first edition of Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1964). The novel was serialized in Playboy before its publication in book form.

“We are honored to represent Hugh Hefner’s library at Rare Books LA and to help find new homes for the books that once filled the shelves of the Playboy Mansion,” said Jen Johnson, co-owner of johnson rare books & archives and producer of Rare Books LA. 

Hefner published the first issue of Playboy in 1953. Celebrities and models clamored to pose for the magazine that showcased beautiful women, lifestyle advice and some of the most acclaimed and famous journalism and literary pieces of all time, including a 1965 sit down with Martin Luther King Jr., 1974’s "The Great Shark Hunt" by Hunter S. Thompson, and fiction by Margaret Atwood. 

“This collection provides a link to a man who was more than just an icon, he was a self-made businessman, artist, advocate for First Amendment rights, and so much more. His library not only reflects his personal interests but also his influence on our society and popular culture,” said johnson rare books & archives co-owner Brad Johnson.

The net proceeds from sales of books from his library will benefit The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation. Since its founding in 1964, the Foundation has supported organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights and civil liberties, with special emphasis on First Amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies.

The legendary magazine founder was recognized as one of the leading voices in the ongoing battles for freedom of expression, civil rights, and sexual freedom, including reproductive and LGBT rights.