Playboy had such success with an art auction last fall ($230,000 total for 17 pieces of art and illustration) that they are doing it again. The "Playboy - I Read It For The Art" auction will feature another 17 original drawings and illustrations from the magazine's archives. The auction will take place at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas on March 12. Online bidding is also available. The auction features the a few glamorous Alberto Vargas pin-ups, a "Little Annie Fanny" comic strip by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis, a pair of Patrick Nagel pieces and several from LeRoy Neiman. His "Surfing, Poche Beach, Man at His Leisure" shown above is acrylic on paper and has a minimum bid of $6,500.
The strategy of having a few small auctions versus one big blockbuster blow-out of the Playboy archives is an interesting one. As Blogging Stocks mentioned last month, Playboy Enterprises reported a loss of $145.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 and chairman Jerome Kern told investors on a conference call that the company is "willing to listen" to listen to sale or merger possibilities. These smaller auctions give the public a taste of what the magazine has in its coffers and raise a little money while still keeping the bulk of the archives, which may prove to be a key asset, safe.