‘Hammer goes, up, hammer comes down: sold, sold sold!’ On Thursday night a selection of the Naked Issue’s brave celebrities, press, and an excited audience arrived at the Melrose Galley in Joburg to place their bids on the gorgeous nude portraits featured in our July issue.

DJ Half and Half warmed up the crowd, who sipped on JC Le Roux, snapped plenty of selfies in the media booth, and marvelled at the portraits and the art in the gallery. Moonchild Sanelly gave an electric performance featuring some dancing on the bar which ended all too soon for our liking, and then it was time for the auction.

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The crowd on the verge of raising their paddles.

Fast-talking auctioneer Shawn van Jaarsveld got the ball rolling quickly. First timers (like this writer) and seasoned bidders alike were quick to lift their paddles. Rosette Ncwana, Moonchild and Nicole Fortuin all spoke eloquently about their charities (while looking incredible, obviously), and audience members egged each other on and debated which of the portraits they’d most like to take home.

The portraits were auctioned alongside a beautiful set of Arthur Kaplan jewellery, a work titled ‘Forest’ by photographer Clint Strydom, and a case of JC Le Roux Scintilla 2009.

James Edwards making a bid

James Edwards came out to support his brother, Chef Giles Edwards, with whom he co-owns the La Téte restaurant in Cape Town. He and wife Frances of Cinnamon Shoes bid on the three naked chefs, and extensively supported the other charities too. Other leading bidders were Calvin Jacobs and Tsholofelo Moripe who took home the portraits of Moonchild Sanelly and Nomzamo Mbatha respectively. The auction raised R58 000 which will be disributed between the celebrities’ charities and the National Women’s Shelter Movement, which Marie Claire is supporting for Mandela Day tomorrow.

If you’re having FOMO, watch at the video below, and to donate to the celebrities’ charities via SMS or snapscan for Mandela Day tomorrow, head over here.

The Naked Issue is in stores now – get a copy to see the portraits.