Clayton Moore’s Lone Ranger Costume Rides off into the Sunset for $195,000
This Lone Ranger outfit worn by actor Clayton Moore wore when he made appearances as the character after retiring from television sold for $195,000 in an auction hosted by A & S Auction Company.
WACO, Texas – A Lone Ranger costume worn by actor Clayton Moore in the classic television series sold at auction on Saturday, gaveling for $195,000 at A & S Auction Company.
An undisclosed buyer purchased the outfit of sky blue woolen tunic and pants, red kerchief, black boots and white Stetson hat with a custom-made, black-leather double-six-gun rig. The distinctive ensemble was donned by the former Texas Ranger who was believed to have been killed with his colleagues in an ambush. To keep his identity a secret, he also wore a black masked.
Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger, with his horse Silver, from the television series.
The lot did not include the mask. In fact, Moore had a running battle with Jack Wrather, the owner of the Lone Ranger character rights and obtained a court order prohibiting Moore from making future appearances as The Lone Ranger. This was in 1979, when Wrather was planning a new film version of the story. He did not want the value of the character being undercut by Moore’s appearances and Wrather did not want to encourage the belief that the 65-year-old Moore would be playing the role in the new picture, which was a huge commercial failure.
The move turned out to be a public-relations mess for Wrather, and the sympathetic Moore simply switched out the Ranger’s Domino mask with similar-looking wraparound sunglasses. Moore counter-sued Wrather and eventually won, enabling him to resume his appearances in costume, which he continued to do until shortly before his death in 1999.
The bidding for the costume blew past the presale estimate of $150,000, eventually garnering $45,000 more than organizers estimated.
The Lone Ranger character made his debut on radio in 1933, appeared in a series of books, comic books and movies before the TV series first aired in 1949. Two years into a successful run—filming 52 episodes a year—Moore left the series over a dispute about salary. John Hart replaced Moore in the title character’s role, but Moore and the producers of The Lone Ranger settled their argument about money and Moore as the “Masked Man,” remaining with the show until it wrapped production in 1957.
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