He appeared in nearly 170 films throughout his prolific career, but John Wayne is perhaps best remembered for his Oscar-winning performance as the cantankerous one-eyed Marshall Rooster Cogburn in 1969’s True Grit. Indeed, the image of Wayne wielding a gun in each hand, wearing his iconic eye patch, has come to epitomize the very spirit of the American West.
Fans will now be able to purchase John Wayne’s True Grit signature eye patch and other memorabilia at a public auction later this fall.
Nearly three decades after Wayne’s death from cancer, his family has made a large collection of the legendary star’s personal property available for public purchase. Hosted by Heritage Auctions, the third largest auction house in the world, the event will auction off more than 800 awards, scripts, costumes and other personal and professional items.
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Ethan Wayne, president of John Wayne Enterprises, says, “My father was always open and accessible to his fans, and he was very grateful to them for supporting his films and career. Now we’re very excited to be able to offer mementos of my father to the fans whom he valued so much.”
In addition to the iconic eye patch, the never-before-seen collection will include Wayne’s Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in True Grit; the cowboy hat he wore in the 1975 sequel Rooster Cogburn; and his personal correspondence letters with several U.S. presidents.
Also for sale are Wayne’s driver’s license, passport and credit card.
Price estimates for the items range from $100 to $50,000, and each purchase will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
The proceeds from the auction will benefit John Wayne Enterprises, which supports and funds the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
“The John Wayne family has been paying storage fees for 32 years,” says Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auctions. “So they looked at the fact that nobody was benefitting from these items—and also that they were receiving calls literally daily from John Wayne fans and collectors asking for specific items—and figured they would take the money out of storage and put it toward a good purpose.”
Public exhibitions of the memorabilia will be held in Dallas (Sept. 16-18) and New York (Sept. 23-25). The live auction will take place in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Oct. 3-6.
Interested collectors and fans will also be able to participate in the auction online at Heritage Auction’s website. The Internet sale, for which a date has not yet been determined, will occur sometime after the live auction and feature lower-priced items.
Heritage Auctions expects the event to attract a wide variety of people, from serious collectors to movie fans and the simply curious.
“Wayne is the classic American icon. In all of his film roles he played the upstanding citizen, the hero, and 30 years after his death he is still remembered for this,” says Margaret Barrett, director of music and entertainment auctions at Heritage. “I think there will be something for everyone.”
To learn more about the John Wayne auction, contact Heritage Auctions at 800-872-6467 or visit HA.com/John Wayne.