I was thumbing through COWBOYS & INDIANS MAGAZINE, (I tend to look at the pictures before the articles), where I saw that the John Wayne Estate is selling 750 of his personal items. Here is the link to the auction website.
Ethan Wayne, who was 17 when his Dad died, said that he receives an email every day requesting personal artifacts from his father. So, as president of John Wayne Enterprises, Ethan decided to hold an auction.
What I found interesting in the article was that the day the Duke died, his house was sealed and all of his personal items were sent to storage. That is what happened. The family was allowed to take 10 items from the home and that was it. Door Shut.
I wonder why? The article said that the Executors did this to protect the estate because often after a movie star dies, his things disappear.
Hmmmm. I guess this method keeps down the in-fighting. Probably by the time the ban is lifted, no one cares anymore. Dunno.
Anyway, the only Wayne who was allowed to rummage through what was in storage was Michael Wayne.
Now, I’m guessing that the family finally decided to review the storage locker and then held back many pieces that had memories or value to them. I say this because the articles in the auction are so impersonal. To me, anyway.
Many of the items are from his movie career (scripts, wardrobe, contracts, awards, letters from famous people, etc.).
John Wayne must have had a great lawyer with some insight because all of his contracts must have stated that he could take home all of his wardrobes and any of the props he touched. I mean, there’s TONS of wardrobe and movie memorabilia.
If you’d like to take a look, there are many pages but you can start here.
I guess I sound like I’ve watched too many episodes of HOARDERS, but I think the old Duke was a bit of a pack rat. Or, he had lots of closet space.
One of the auction items is a pile of signed restaurant receipts. Now, I can see the value for us to have his signature. But why did HE save his own signature? Was he saving these for his kids to sell off later? Maybe. They look like golf club chits for the restaurant on the 9th tee…
Honestly, I quit looking through the catalog after page 35. My fingers were weary. But, I think you might like to take a look because going through one’s stuff really presents a snapshot of who they were. It feeds the voyeur in all of us.
To me, John Wayne valued paper affirmations. He kept scripts, contracts, letters, receipts, invoices, brochures… lots and lots of paper.
He also seemed to value items that represented his career, which is understandable. But, I swear, he must have been an excellent organizer because he had clothing and bricabrack from just about every single film he ever made – 175. How the heck did the people recovering these items know what was what unless the Duke had them all boxed and cataloged?
Talk about researh… I swear, just about every item from a movie also has a photo still from that particular movie where the Duke is either wearing or holding the item.
Wow. Lots and Lots of work to organize this auction. For sure.
The great news is that you get a letter of authentication on every item from the Wayne family.
INTERESTING AND ODD, TO ME…
I thought it was a bit sweet that several of his very worn boots had the left foot toe at an upward angle. I’m sure that is how he stood most of the time. After all, his gait was so reflective of his stance. I loved seeing that!
The least expensive item ($22) was a basket of sea shells. I found this heartwarming because either he was just like you and me and he picked up sea shells and then had no idea what to do with them so he tossed them into a basket… or he took his children to the sea and they picked up shells that he tossed into a basket.
I thought it was hilarious that he had a box of rocks. I do, too!! I went through my mineral stage and bought up several really pretty rocks. It warmed my soul to see that even the Duke had a soft spot for rocks.
But, I gotta tell you… I draw the line at hangers. Really? Hangers? Heck, I’m the stiff who thinks they aren’t valuable, right? I’m sure the darn hangers will sell for more than my car.
Oh, and the paperbacks that you wouldn’t spend more than 50 cents for at a garage sale are up for $500. However, you gotta laugh at the grouping… JAWS and PLAYBOY. Ha!
Another forehead slapper item is the Sheriff Stars for $650. Uh huh. Well, I can go down to Old Town Sacramento and buy all of these stars (I think) for about $15. But, here again, the DUKE almost stuck himself with these particular stars so they have a huge value. You wouldn’t want your kid playing dress-up with them… You’d have to frame the lot or something.
ITEMS OF INTEREST
There are many, many doodled upon scripts which I find fascinating , especially the annotated ones.
But, I think the general public would like his movie clothing. You can bid on just about any kind of clothing, from Western Wear to Night Shirts. They are offering suspenders, all kinds of hats, shoes, jackets, coats, dusters, chaps, vests, shirts, dress shirts — they stopped short only at underwear, which I’m sure he had saved and boxed as well.
One of my favs was this hat from THE LEGEND OF THE LOST. It looks like a John Wayne hat to me. I’d also like to wear it around the pool or on a ride someday. But, for $8000, I’d rather put in a septic tank on the guest house.
Another interesting article were these pants from THE ALAMO. You can see the photo where JW was wearing them. Soon after that photo was taken, you might have to surmise, they got dragged behind a horse or some other moving vehicle because they are really ratty. $4000.
WHAT I WISH I COULD BID ON
Since I stopped after page 35, there could be more… but from where I sit here in front of my computer, I think I would really like to have his wild rags and his valise.
I would use them both!
I already have a thing for wildrags (Cowboy neck jewelry). I just love how a bright colored scarf around a Cowboy’s neck is not sissy – but if you wrapped it anywhere else on his body, well, that would be bad…
Anyway, I would love the collection of ‘neckerchiefs’.
The other item I would love is the travel valise. They call it a 1950’s overnight bag but I call it gawjus! That little item is probably my favorite…
A month or so ago I told you about a holster I had made for my iPhone. Here is a photo of it.
In this auction, I see a gun holster. It looks almost exactly like my cell phone holder. Wow how times have changed, eh Duke?…
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