October 7, 2011 / 10:48 PM / in 7 years

John Wayne's green beret fetches high auction price

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A green beret worn by revered American actor John Wayne in the 1968 war-drama film “The Green Berets,” raised a record price for a costume hat of $179,250 in an auction that finished on Friday, auctioneers said.

Other top-selling items at the two-day auction held in Los Angeles included the actor’s eye-patch from the 1969 Oscar-winning film “True Grit,” which sold for $47,800 and a Golden Globe award for the film was purchased for $143,000. A cowboy hat worn by Wayne in his western films “Big Jake” and “The Cowboys” sold for $119,500.

“The beret that Wayne wore in ‘The Green Berets’ shocked the room when it brought the astounding record price for a costume hat of more than $179,000,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions.

A total $5.3 million was raised from the auction, with dozens of items far exceeding their pre-auction estimates. A portion of the proceeds was used to fund cancer research, treatment and education by the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.

More than 700 on-screen outfits and personal items of the iconic actor were put up for auction by John Wayne Enterprises and Heritage Auctions. The auction came as John Wayne’s estate made the decision to allow the actor’s fans to own a piece of his life.

“This was all about my father’s fans,” says Ethan Wayne, son of the legendary actor and President of John Wayne Enterprises. “He loved his fans almost as much as his family, and now they will always have something to remember him by.”

Wayne, nicknamed The Duke, worked for five decades in the film industry and appeared in more than 150 films. He died aged 72 of stomach cancer in 1979.

Reporting and Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Christine Kearney

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