This morning, the last three Nagel items were auctioned off from the Hefner estate. From my perspective, the items fetched reasonable, but not excessive prices. All were acrylic on board, measruing roughly 22" x 28", give or take.
As is usually the case, the sexier piece of Sondra Theodore and a brunette brought the highest hammer price and closed at US$12,800. The personalized portrait of Hefner and Sondra got stolen for only $2,240 -- or maybe not. The feeling is that when portraits get too personal, their appeal gets very limited. Whoever bought it has bragging rights to owning an original Nagel illustration -- and a nice one at that -- but in my opinion, this isn't the stuff of great collectability.
The third piece was actually published in Playboy Advisor, in 1982, I believe. It brought US$7,680, which is still a good deal.
My thinking is that the auction didn't bring crazy prices for three reasons:
1. It wasn't terribly well publicized. If you're not on the hunt for Nagel art, you likely missed it.
2. The auction was held on a Monday morning -- could there be a worse time?
3. Art buyers are notoriously vacation-mad. The worst prices are fetched right before summer and winter vacations.
In any event, there are some happy buyers out there tonight!