A River of Returns

art_collectibles_river_no_return_marilyn_monroe_top_selling“It is a toss-up whether the scenery or the adornment of Marilyn Monroe is the feature of greater attraction in River of No Return,” reviewed The New York Times in 1954.

That spangled beaded costume Monroe wore would become even more of a hit, nearly 60 years later, when it landed on the auction block. To those who remembered, one look at the costume recalled Monroe’s saloon girl lyrics: “Love is a traveler, On the River of No Return, Swept on for ever.”

Love is indeed a traveler, most especially a time traveler, when it comes to astute collectors of Western memorabilia and art. These relics of the past are preserved and loved, and then offered to the rest of us to carry on the tradition.

From the Upham family that finally sold its treasured Billy the Kid tintype to Debbie Reynolds who put her heart and soul into saving Hollywood’s wardrobe past, collectors passed on the baton to those who they hoped would cherish these mementos of our collective Western heritage.

Included in the following pages are highlights from Reynolds’s movie memorabilia auctions, such as the above saloon dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in 1954’s River of No Return, as well as other notable Western art and collectibles of the year.

Check out the slide show to see the top-selling Western collectibles of 2011.

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