John Wayne's Estate Auction Fetches $5.38 Million

Photo Courtesy of John Wayne Official Site
Paraphrasing a quote made famous by a tiger that has earned his stripes, things are great in the auction industry this year. Whether it is the math or the aftermath of the current economic situation, the demand for coveted collectibles this year has amped up sales reported by auction houses in 2011. This year continues to be one for auction-adventure stories.

It is a divergent array of items ranging from artwork to automobiles to historical documents to entertainment memorabilia, and other highly desired collectibles have two things in common: Sold lots are exceeding pre-sales estimates and new world records, in various categories, are being established at an unprecedented frequency.

John Wayne Enterprises and Heritage Auctions recently aligned and auctioned off $5.38 million of items that included more than 700 costumes, scripts, and other pieces featured in the films of acclaimed actor John Wayne. Heritage Auctions reported that dozens of the lots substantially exceeded pre-sales estimates. Many pieces sold for twice as much and even more. 

Top items sold at the two-day event held in Los Angeles, California, at the Hyatt Century Plaza, on October 6-7, were the screen–worn beret from the film Green Berets sold at $179,250. The actual Golden Globe Award that the Duke won for his performance in True Grit tapped out at $143,400.

Additional items that exceeded pre-sale expectations include a cowboy hat appearing in Big Jake and The Cowboys and an eye patch from True Grit. The two sold at $119,500 and $47,800, respectively, and Wayne’s last driver’s license garnered $89,625. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation will receive a portion of the proceeds from the auction.

"The beret that Wayne wore in The Green Beret shocked the room when it brought the astounding record price for a costume hat of more than $179,000," said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auctions. "The hat Duke wore in Big Jake, and The Cowboys brought the astronomical amount of $119,500, a record auction price for a costume cowboy hat." For more details of the auction, visit

James Rothaar

As an independent contractor, James has written content for and other leading online luxury lifestyle magazines. Rothaar previously served as the senior-tenured staff writer for JustLuxe, having worked with the digital magazine since 2005. He resides in Jacksonville, Florida, and works as an independent marketing consultant and a freelance writer. James Rothaar has an MBA degree...(Read More)

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