John Wayne: The Duke’s Most Valuable Items Ever Auctioned

by Matthew Wilson
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When he died, John Wayne left behind a wealth of memorabilia. Artifacts from his life and props from his various films have become hot sellers for Wayne fanatics who want to own a piece of movie history and love the reminder of one of cinema’s biggest stars.

But what’s the most that a piece of John Wayne memorabilia ever sold for? An estate auction back in 2011 drew in a large number of participants and also high prices as well. The top item was Wayne’s signature green wool beret. The actor wore the headpiece when he starred as Col. Mike Kirby in “The Green Berets” in 1968. Wayne also directed that film as well, making it an interesting part of his movie catalog. It sold for $179,250.

John Wayne’s Estate Auctions Off His Items

The green beret certainly makes a statement and is instantly recognizable among fans of his war films. Wayne’s estate auctioned various other items at the event as well. Coming in a close second, Wayne’s Golden Globe award sold for $143,000 during the auction. Wayne won that award for appearing as Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit” in 1969. Also sold was the actual eye patch that Wayne wore for the role. It went for only $47,800 during the event.

The third highest item of Wayne’s sold was the actor’s signature cowboy hat. Wayne wore the hat during three of his biggest westerns “Big Jake,” “The Train Robbers,” and “The Cowboys” as well. Someone bought that hat for a cool $119,500.

A number of other items were auctioned off in the event including Wayne’s driver’s license for $89,625 and a gun belt for $77,675. The actor carried that gunbelt when he filmed “El Dorado.” In total, the estate auctioned around 700 costumes, awards, and other memorabilia during the 2011 auction.

It was one of the biggest events for fans of Wayne looking to grab a part of history. It also featured some of the highest prices that Wayne’s memorabilia ever sold for as well. But a portion of that money was reportedly for a good cause. The money went to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, which helps fund cancer research and awareness.

Wayne himself died from stomach cancer, and his children have carried forward his legacy of fighting cancer. A couple of lucky and rich fans found themselves the proud owners of part of Wayne’s legendary movie career.

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