"They just pushed the envelope every single night," Hamilton said.
The club's memories are captured in hand-scrawled notes from its guests, such as one from Farrah Fawcett to Rubell that says "Dearest Steve, Thank you for a fabulous weekend. You made it work!" Or the telegram from Yves St. Laurent to Rubell, inviting him to a black-tie celebration of his perfume Opium.
Most of the dozens and dozens of photographs were taken by news outlets or paparazzi and it's not known how many copies exist. But there's a handful of one-of-a-kind Polaroids shot by Warhol, making them the most valuable of the bunch.
Altogether, the collection broadens the public portrait of Rubell, known to many younger people only through Mike Myers' portrayal of him in the movie "54.""I'm left with the belief that there was an energy with the way Rubell would put together these groups of people every night," said auctioneer Rico Baca of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, which is handling the sale. "And this energy comes out in these photographs." Among the pricier objects on the auction block is a metal sculpture by Warhol of dollar signs, which was given to Rubell, and is estimated to fetch up to $50,000. There's also a Warhol drawing of Studio 54 drink tickets, estimated to go for up to $150,000, and a painted portrait of Rubell by Michael Vollbracht given to the club impresario on his 35th birthday, with an estimated value of up to $20,000. Also being sold are drink tickets, posters, invitations and even Rubell's personal address book. And, perhaps most interestingly, the key to the fortress itself, Rubell's tattered front-door reservation book, which held his jotted notes on each night's guest list. The book is filled with gads of famous names, notations on whether the guest's bill would be footed by the club, and the faint sound of disco-fueled memories frozen in time.