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The State

Roy Rogers' Saddle Auctioned for $412,500

Memorabilia: The late Western star's matching chaps and spurs are sold for $257,500 to another bidder. Proceeds will help pay the cowboy's estate tax bill.

January 26, 2002|KENNETH REICH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Under pressure from the Internal Revenue Service to pay an estate tax bill, the family of the late western star Roy Rogers has auctioned his prize saddle and 36 other items.

The Jan. 19 auction in Mesa, Ariz., by High Noon Western Collectibles brought $412,500 for the gold-, silver- and ruby-studded saddle, and $257,500 from a separate buyer for matching chaps and spurs, said auctioneer Joseph Sherwood.

He said the buyer of the saddle asked to remain anonymous but intends it as a Valentine's Day present for his wife.

The saddle is one of five that have been on display at the Roy Rogers-Dale Evans Museum in Victorville. Son Roy Rogers Jr., known by the nickname "Dusty," said the one auctioned was "the premiere" in terms of its jewelry but not the one the star rode in most of his movies.

The saddle, produced by John McCabe of Hollywood in 1931, cost $20,000 at the time and took six months for 16 silversmiths to produce. It contains more than 1,400 ounces of silver, 136 ounces of gold and 500 rubies.

Roy Rogers, who first saw it at a Rose Parade, purchased it for $50,000 in 1949.

Also on the auction block were a plastic saddle, Dale Evans' Bohlin saddle, parade boots, the couple's "Nudie's" outfits, hats, wool jackets, Rogers' favorite bowling shirt and ball, and some movie posters.

Roy Rogers Jr. declined to say how much was raised at the auction, but said the proceeds will not pay the entire tax bill of "well over $1 million."

"Since the museum has over 100,000 items in our possession, we still have plenty to display," he said. Among the items on display is Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger, mounted by a taxidermist.

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