Going, going, gone! Bob Hope items net $601,000
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, October 20, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) - An autographed photo of Lucille Ball, complete with blacked out teeth, fetched more than $6,500, an inscribed photo of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor went for $27,500, cufflinks from President Nixon brought $10,000.

The items were among the nearly 800 mementoes belonging to Bob Hope that the late comedian's family auctioned off over the weekend as a charity fundraiser.

The auction reaped more than $601,000, with some items fetching 10 to 20 times more than expected, said Darren Julien, president of Julien's Auctions.

Fellow comedian and fellow duffer George Lopez was one of the bidders. He snatched up some of Hope's beloved golfing gear, including hats he wore on the links.

"They were both fanatical golfers," said producer Ann Lopez, George's wife. "George hosted the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic for two years. He wants to wear the hats on the course to keep Mr. Hope out there in spirit, still golfing."

The pieces of Hope history were sold to fans and dealers alike at the auction, which was spread over Saturday and Sunday. The sale was televised live and online by the Auction Network, allowing viewers worldwide to participate in real time.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit charities and causes that were important to Hope, who died in 2003 at age 100.

The item that generated the most interest was the executive desk that sat in Hope's Toluca Lake office for more than 50 years. It sold for $18,750, Julien said.

"Presidents sat in front of it, Mr. Hope conducted countless meetings from behind it," Julien said. "Everyone cheered when it sold. It wasn't the most expensive item, but it was the most exciting sale."

Many items sold for far more than their estimates, Julien said. A black and white photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor inscribed to Hope was expected to bring in about $500. It fetched $27,500.

Julien said he was surprised by the $6,562 sale price of the Ball photo. "Lucille Ball sold for Marilyn Monroe prices," he said. "Amazing."

A 1951 handwritten letter from Bing Crosby sold for $5,000. Presidential cufflinks gifted from Richard Nixon fetched $10,000.

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