October 20, 2008 / 6:10 PM / 10 years ago

Bob Hope memorabilia auction raises $601,000

Memorabilia including personalized license plates that belonged to the late Bob Hope are pictured in his home office in Los Angeles, August 18, 2008. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bob Hope’s lifetime of memories raised $601,000 in a two-day auction over the weekend, with some of the highest bids going to his golf memorabilia and pictures of the entertainer with famous friends, organizers said on Monday.

Five years after his death at the age of 100, several hundred items in Hope’s Los Angeles home office were put up for sale, including golf clubs, letters, cufflinks and gifts from friends including Bing Crosby, Lucille Ball and Tony Bennett.

One of the most sought-after items was a black and white photograph of Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Windsor that was inscribed to Hope. The photograph sold for $27,500, more than 10 times its pre-sale estimate.

Signed photographs of Hope with U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Dwight Eisenhower sold for $5,000 and $5,937 respectively, while a 1951 handwritten letter from Hope’s “road” movie buddy, Bing Crosby, went for $5,000.

Two of Hope’s favorite golf clubs were bought for $11,875 and $8,750 while the desk the comedian used at his home office for 50 years was sold for $18,750, Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions said.

Money raised from the auction will benefit U.S. veterans through the Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation.

Hope, whose theme song was “Thanks for the Memories”, was an avid golfer and friend of many presidents who entertained soldiers from World War Two to the Gulf War in 1991.

Before the Beverly Hills auction, some of the memorabilia went on tour on the Queen Mary 2 cruise ship and was on exhibition at a museum in Ireland.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant

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