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The 2010 Playboy Art Auction

Playboyand Christie’sare coming together in Chicago on December 8 to auction off more than 125 works from the corporate collection of Playboy Enterprises.

Hefner is also reportedly looking to sell the Playboy Mansion, with mounting debts and buyout bids threatening the company's future. The sale of Playboy art is speculated to be part of Hefner's need to raise cash.

Although this auction—aptly titled Year of the Rabbit—features some iconic pieces, the collection’s curator describes it as the “tip of the iceberg,” with over 5,000 pieces owned by Playboy.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Hefner said that "Playboy helped to change the very direction of commercial art — breaking down the wall between fine art and commercial art," commenting on the cultural influence these works have.

Click ahead for highlights from the much-anticipated auction of Playboy art.

By Paul Toscano
Posted 10 Nov 2010