New York, NY – Christie’s is auctioning off the belongings of movie cowboy Roy Rogers – including the preserved remains of his famous horse, Trigger.
On Friday, Christie’s held a preview for next week’s auction. The items are from the shuttered Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo. The famed auction house, which usually features fine furniture, paintings and jewelry now has a mounted horse rearing on its hind legs displayed in their marble-floored gallery. Rumor has it that if you listen carefully, you can hear Trigger neigh.
Upon hearing about the Christie’s sale, many New Yorkers had the same reaction: “What’s a horse?”
Entertaining the masses during the 1940s and 1950s, Roy Rogers and Trigger were one of America’s most recognizable duos. Trigger is a legend, undeniably one of the most memorable horses that ever lived. So bring him home and stick him on your lawn! Hey, he might even look good on your roof.
With “Don’t Fence Me In” playing near the stuffed palomino, potential bidders previewed Trigger on Friday. One stuffed-horse lover, Tom Hillstrom of Stumptoe, Arkansas, got a little too close to Trigger and had to be reined in by Christie’s guards. “I just wanted to smell him. Just one whiff, please!” Christie’s guards finally escorted Hillstrom out after he had his nose deep in Roy Rogers’ first pair of boots (on sale for $4,000).
In 1938 when a singing cowboy, Leonard Slye, wanted a horse to ride in a movie, he picked a golden palomino named “Golden Cloud.” As soon as Roy’s butt hit the saddle, he was in love. He renamed the horse “Trigger” and then changed his own name to Roy Rogers, because “I think it’ll look good on a restaurant marquee some day.” To the young-uns out there Roy Rogers is not a roast beef sandwich. It wasn’t until after a long career as a movie and television star that Roy became known for his pulled pork.
Rogers had his faithful companion, Trigger, preserved with taxidermy in 1965. The presale estimate at Christie’s for the dead horse is $100,000 to $200,000. Roger’s 1964 Bonneville convertible is also for sale at $100,000 to $150,000. Trigger would be devastated if a convertible sold for more, so saddle up, git on down to Christie’s and buy a hunk of horse!
When Trigger died in 1965 at the age of 35, the Smithsonian Institute asked Rogers for his body for their Americana collection. Roy turned them down, and instead arranged for Trigger’s hide to be stretched over a plastic likeness of a horse in a rearing position. Roy used to sit in front of his dead horse for days screaming, “Giddy-up, Trigger, Giddy-up!”
Christie’s denies that The Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver, will also be put up for auction. A Christie’s representative said, “Trigger is our only dead horse on auction.” Tonto, however, will put on sale next month.
A jealous Mr. Ed. was unavailable for comment. He was busy being glue.
Take a look at Roy and Trigger at the Hollywood Canteen. For you New Yorkers, the horse is that thing moving underneath Roy’s legs.