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The 10 most expensive pieces of John Wayne movie memorabilia ever sold at auction

10) ‘True Grit’ eye patch

Perhaps John Wayne’s most celebrated role is that of Rooster Cogburn in the classic 1969 western ‘True Grit’. The film earned Wayne his only Academy Award for Best Actor, and upon accepting his Oscar he said "Wow! If I'd known that, I'd have put that patch on 35 years earlier.” Forty-two years later, the same screen-worn eye patch sold for $47,000 at Heritage Auctions. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

9) 1976 People’s Choice award

According to Wayne’s son Ethan, the 1976 People’s Choice Award for Best Actor was one of his most treasured awards because it was voted for by the fans themselves. Wayne won the award for his two starring roles in 1975 – as a tough-talking Chicago cop abroad in ‘Brannigan’, and the reprisal of his iconic character ‘Rooster Cogburn’ in the sequel to ‘True Grit’. The People’s Choice Award was sold directly from Wayne’s personal collection at a Heritage auction in 2011, where it realised $56,762. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

8) ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ costume

Wayne’s performance as US Cavalry Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles in the 1949 Western ‘She Wore a Yellow Ribbon’ was reportedly one of his favourite roles. The film was the second in the trilogy of ‘Cavalry’ films by the iconic director John Ford, and was one of the most expensive Westerns ever filmed at the time with a budget of $1.6 million. Wayne’s screen-worn blue and yellow U.S Cavalry outfit sold years later in a 2008 Profiles in History auction, for a price of $60,000. (Image: profiles in History)

7) Western saddle

Wayne was a highly proficient horse rider from his earliest days in Hollywood, having learned western skills from stuntmen whilst appearing unbilled in numerous low-budget films in the 1930s. He put these skills to use on and off-screen, and was a keen rider in his spare time. This Western saddle was made for Wayne in Denver, Colorado in the late 1960s, and used both personally and professionally on-screen. It was later gifted to his son Patrick Wayne, and sold at Heritage in 2011 for $71,700. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

6) ‘El Dorado’ holster and gun belt

‘El Dorado’ was the second in a trilogy of films by the legendary director Howard Hawks to star Wayne. Essentially a remake of the 1959 film Rio Bravo, ‘El Dorado’ was itself followed by the almost identically-plotted ‘Rio Lobo’ in 1970. It starred Wayne as gunslinger Cole Thornton, defending a town against outlaws alongside Robert Mitchum’s Sheriff J.P Harrah. In October 2011 a holster and gun belt worn by Wayne in the film, and likely other films of the same period, sold at Heritage Auctions for $77,675. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

5) ‘Chisum’ leather vest

Wayne’s 1970 film features a large cast, many of which were close friends or had appeared in previous Westerns with the actor. Loosely based on events and characters from the Lincoln County War of 1878, the film features real-life figures including Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett alongside the aging rancher John Chisum. The tan leather vest worn onscreen by Wayne throughout the film sold at Heritage in 2011 for $77,675. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

4) 1977 driver’s license

Wayne’s last driver’s license was issued in the State of California on May 12, 1977, just over two years before his death on June 11, 1979. The license was sold during an auction of his estate at Heritage in October 2011 for $89,625, making it one of his most valuable pieces of personal memorabilia. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

3) ‘Big Jake’ cowboy hat

This battered felt cowboy hat was worn by Wayne in not one but three films produced during the early 1970s – ‘Big Jake’ (1971), ‘The Cowboys’ (1972) and ‘The Train Robbers’ (1973). Supplied by the Western Costume Company, the hat was also worn by Wayne’s long-time stunt double Chuck Roberson, who often shared items of wardrobe with the actor. After spending years in Wayne’s personal collection, it was sold at Heritage in 2011 for $119,500. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

2) 1969 Golden Globe Award

In addition to his sole Academy Award, ‘True Grit’ also earned Wayne the 1970 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a motion picture drama. He had previously won the ceremony’s Henrietta Award  in 1953 for World Film Favorite Male, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in 1966. In 2011 Wayne’s Best Actor Golden Globe was sold by Heritage for $143,400. (Image: Heritage Auctions)

1) ‘The Green Berets’ hat

Wayne was a staunch anti-communist and an advocate of the Vietnam War, and in 1968 directed ‘The Green Berets’ – the only major film produced during the conflict which supported it. His pro-war position went down badly with anti-war supporters and the film was panned by critics, but it was nevertheless a box-office success with takings of more than $21 million. In 2011 the military beret worn onscreen by Wayne as Colonel Mike Kirby, leader of the titular team of Green Berets, sold at Heritage for a record $179,250.

(Image: Heritage Auctions)

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