Memorabilia from the defunct Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, MO was sold by the heirs of the couple at auction this week.
The most famous item, Roy’s actual horse “Trigger,” stuffed and mounted, is now the property of RFD-TV, which is planning its own museum.
Before his death in 1998 Rogers had suggested, not completely in jest, that he would like to be stuffed himself and put atop Trigger to ride again as they did in so many movies and TV shows. That didn’t happen, but his beloved horse will continue to be an icon for millions of fans.
RFD-TV CFO Steve Campione told reporters at Christie’s auction house in New York that CEO Patrick Gottsch wanted to buy the entire collection, but found out about the sale to late to arrange financing. As it was, RFD was the winning bidder for the most-expensive and most-sought-after item, Trigger, at a price of $266,500 – well over the expected range of $100-200K.
The second-highest price was for Roy’s 1964 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, adorned with silver dollars, chrome plated pistols and horse heads and even a small saddle. It went under the gavel for $254,500. There was no word on who bought the car or the other three stuffed animals from the collection: “Bullet” the dog, Dale’s horse “Buttermilk” and Trigger’s body double, “Trigger Jr.”