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John Wayne auction nets $5.3 million

The wool beret worn by John Wayne in 1968’s “The Green Berets” generated the highest bid at last week’s auction of the late actor’s memorabilia and personal belongings.

That item alone generated $179,000 and led the

$5.3 million in total sales for Newport Beach-based John Wayne Enterprises at the auction in a Century City hotel. More than 700 items were sold.

“It felt like a great outpouring of gratitude from the fans for the opportunity to get something that had belonged to John Wayne,” the actor’s son, Ethan Wayne, president of John Wayne Enterprises, said on Monday. “It felt like a great success, not just for John Wayne Enterprises, but for fans as well.”


Other top-fetching items included Wayne’s eye patch for $47,800 and Golden Globe for $143,000, both from “True Grit"; his 1977 driver’s license for $89,625; and his cowboy hat, worn in both “Big Jake” and “The Cowboys,” for $119,500.

“The prices realized show just how beloved John Wayne remains today,” said Greg Rohan, president of Heritage Auctions, which organized the sale with John Wayne Enterprises.

A portion of the auction proceeds will benefit the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

More than 2,600 bidders participated in the two-day auction. Bids were accepted online, over the phone and in person.


Wayne, a Newport Beach resident in the later years of his life, died of cancer in 1979.

“We’re happy and they’re happy,” Ethan Wayne said. “People are still thinking and talking about John Wayne, still remembering him, and continued to be inspired so many years after his death.”

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