In 1952, Hugh Hefner was a 26-year-old copywriter at Esquire magazine with an entrepreneurial dream.
As The Wrap notes, Hefner quit Esquire in 1952, took out a mortgage of $600, and raised $8,000 from 45 investors, including $1,000 from his mother, to set the foundation for Playboy.
The first issue of Playboy Magazine hit newsstands in 1953.
It featured nude photographs of actress Marilyn Monroe, which were taken from a 1949 calendar shoot, according to The Wrap.
The first issue was an instant hit, selling more than 50,000 copies and laying the groundwork for an iconic brand that would go on to make millions over the decades.
In the early 1970s, Playboy magazine hit its peak, with sales of seven million copies for a single issue. In 1999, Hefner’s 70% ownership of Playboy stock was valued as high as $399 million, according to The Telegraph.
Though sales of the magazine dwindled in recent decades, the Playboy brand is still worth millions. Market researcher Wealth-X told Business Insider that Hefner was worth at least $110 million at the time of his death, with roughly $45 million in liquid assets.