Dallas-based Heritage-Slater Americana is holding the auction of items associated with the reclusive billionaire, whose life of designing and flying planes and producing movies was dramatized in 2004's "The Aviator," directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes.
The auction was to begin Wednesday evening and end Thursday. Included is a telegram that Hughes sent to Hepburn on Jan. 19, 1937 - the day he set a new air record, flying from Burbank, Calif., to Newark, N.J., in seven hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.
The flight was over, and Hughes apparently was running behind schedule to meet Hepburn at Chicago's Ambassador Hotel before she performed in a play.
"Supposed to arrive six something in the afternoon," the Western Union telegram reads. "Probably not in time to see you before the theater so will try to contain myself until eleven thirty, love Dan."
Dan was short for Dynamite, one of several nicknames the two shared, said Michael Riley of Heritage-Slater Americana, a subsidiary of Heritage Galleries.
Riley said the owner of the documents, which include two 1939 handwritten draft telegrams by Hepburn, isn't being identified.
Other items on the auction block include a brown hat with the initials "HRH" that was expected to fetch at least $40,000, Riley said.
"He had so much money, he had so much power," said Riley. "He truly was a legendary aviator. He did incredible things in terms of flying. He led the kind of life a lot of people would like to live."
Hughes died in Houston on April 5, 1976. He was 72 years old.
Hepburn, a four-time Oscar-winner, died June 29, 2003 at age 96. She had homes in New York City and Connecticut.
By Matt Slagle