John Wayne's green beret hits $179,000 World Record price for a costume hat
The piece defeated all comers at the auction, which also featured his Big Jake cowboy hat
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 10 October 2011
Heritage auctioned over 700 items of John Wayne memorabilia in a joint auction with John Wayne Enterprises on October 6-7, led by a green beret worn by the star in the film of that name.
In total, the auction raised $5.4m, of which a proportion will be given to cancer charities; Wayne died of cancer in 1979.
The items included his last driving license ($89,625), a holster and gun belt from El Dorado ($77,675), and an eye patch from True Grit ($47,800).
The three biggest sellers were a cowboy hat which Wayne wore in Big Jake and The Cowboys, a Golden Globe award for True Grit and his Green Berets green beret. The Golden Globe brought $143,400 whilst both the hats brought records.
It seems only fitting that Wayne's hat should bring a record auction price for a costume cowboy hat, as he is probably the movie star most readily associated with cowboy roles. The record was set at $119,500.
The draw of the green beret was more of a surprise to many in the room, but John Wayne's tough guy image extended beyond Westerns. At $179,000, it set an overall record for a costume hat.
It seems likely that Wayne's memorabilia will continue to be valuable in the future. Collectors frustrated to have missed the sale will be pleased to know that we have a signed picture of Wayne from True Grit, wearing the very same eye patch which just sold.
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