RENO — A treasure trove of Western memorabilia featuring “The King of the Cowboys” Roy Rogers (1911-1998) is heading to auction Aug. 23-24 during the Cowboys, Cameras and Coins auction at Holabird-Kagin Americana in Reno, Nevada.
Born Leonard Slye in Cincinnati, Ohio, Rogers began in show business as a singer with various vocal groups, culminating with being a co-founder of the Sons of the Pioneers in the 1930s. Rogers turned this singing career into an acting career and became a singing cowboy, rivaling Gene Autry and Eddie Dean.
Like Mickey Mouse, non-singing cowboy Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) and the aforementioned Autry, Rogers became a merchandising icon with everything from toy guns and record players, to lunchboxes and toy guitars bearing his likeness. Unlike Autry and Boyd, who just re-cut some of their movies to fit the television format, Rogers appeared in a series produced just for television from 1951 to 1957.
The lot headed to the auction block is a great collection for the latent Rogers fan. It includes items from the 1950s like a lunchbox with Roy and Dale Thermos bottles, assorted badges and buttons and a two gun rig, complete with cap guns. Later items include a wastebasket, a wooden guitar, still in the box and plastic figures of Roy, Dale, and their horses, Trigger and Buttermilk. Roy`s Rules for Life, a framed poster, is one of the featured items in this lot.
This collection also includes guns, holsters, hat, toys, photos, blanket, books, a library of Rogers’ movies, books, and comic books including “My Pal Trigger,” and several episodes of his television series in both VHS and DVD formats. If it was for kids, chances are, Roy’s name would appear on it.
Other items in the collection include several Western antiques and historic items, along with memorabilia from television westerns including Bonanza. Among the expected highlights of this sale:
• First U.S. Air Mail Delivery signed photo, circa 1931
• 1880s bear and beaver fur coat
• Late 19th century donkey pack saddle