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How we lost $17,000 on a Playboy Playmate

How we lost $17,000 on a Playboy Playmate

Posted by : David Brewer   /  

Her name was Willy Rey.

She came to us one day shortly after we first opened Posh Pawn San Diego. She was in the form of a mint condition, life size poster of a 1971 Playboy centerfold picture. She was beautiful. 

 The owner wanted to sell, didn’t know the value, and needed our expertise. I assured him we were experts. Just not in playmate posters. 

Not wanting to pass up an opportunity, I asked him if we could keep it for a day to do research. He agreed.

I discovered that the mailing tube that it was shipped in way back in 1971 said it was shipped from HMH Publishing. A quick search revealed that HMH Publishing stood for Hughes Marston Hefner Publishing, the legal business name for Playboy Magazine before going public.

A bit more research revealed that Ms. Rey’s centerfold picture was the same photograph used on the stock certificates when Hugh Hefner took his company public.We also learned Ms. Rey had passed away a few years after the photo came out. 

What we didn’t discover was the value of a life size centerfold poster. It was obviously collectible. We just weren’t sure who collects life size, naked posters to hang in their homes.We scoured the internet, the auction sites, and of course ebay in an attempt to determine a realistic value. 

This is where I confide in you that we pawnbrokers live in fear.

Well maybe not as much anymore, but when we first opened Posh Pawn we were afraid of everything. The fake Tiffany, the fake Rolex's, the scam artists that would come visit us from LA, and most of all we were afraid of losing money on a purchase.

With this in mind we told our new customer friend we would offer him $300 for his beautiful poster. That’s the maximum amount we were willing to lose. 

No deal. He wanted $1,000. We gave him a referral to an auction house in Florida and sent him on his way. 

A couple of years later, our customer friend returned to the store with some more items. He asked if we remembered the poster of Willy Rey, which of course we did.

He said he really owed us a big thank you.

"Yes, your friends in Florida did help me out and I was able to auction off Ms. Rey" he told us. 

"Great" we said and congratulated him. We were really amazed about the news. 

"Yes" he continued. "The Playboy Mansion was the winning bidder and believe it or not it went all the way up to $18,000. I couldn't have done it without you guys giving me that auction house number." he said smiling. 

 Now you know how we lost $17,000 on a Playboy Playmate. 

Thank you for visiting. Let us know if you enjoy the blog and if so we’ll continue posting interesting stuff we encounter here at Posh Pawn. 



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  • Pamel

    I’m possession of a September 2009 Playboy with Heidi Montag on the cover. Still in original plastic. Mint condition. I know the value. Looking to sell for the right price.

  • Wyatt

    Lmk if you might be open to buying some of my Playboy mags I have full year collections along with the most sought after mags. I live in North county .I

  • Joe Soliz

    Do you buy people buy playboy magazines i got a 1993 jerry seinfeld issue looks mint condition i want $3000 for it ill throw in few others looks ;like there brand new. Ill even throw in a cone head magazine with it .thank yoi

  • Monica

    Great story.

  • brooke

    I love the blog, keep it up! made me chuckle