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    Auction Finds

    Tin comic-book holder bearing a Roy Rogers look-alike

    I could see a drawing of a cowboy on a horse on the side of the tin item facing me. The image resembled something out of a Roy Rogers and Trigger movie, so I went right to it to get a closer look.

    The cowboy surely looked like Roy Rogers, but I couldn’t tell if it was truly him or some anonymous figure used by the manufacturer to entice little boys into buying the tin. The cowboy was holding a lasso that had curled above his head into the words “Comic Book Corral” in cursive lettering.

    The 12-inch-tall holder was sitting atop some other items on the auction table, and it practically stood out for attention. It had two wide compartments divided by three panels, the center one bearing an opening for carrying it.

    Comic Book Corral holder

    Side view of Comic Book Corral with lithograph of cowboy and his horse.

    It resembled a magazine rack, but this one was made to hold comic books. The lithographed cowboy, yellow faux wood-grain background and lettering were still in pretty good shape. The holder itself was dusty, and showed some use and rust.

    How neat, I thought, figuring it would be nice piece of memorabilia for a serious comic-book collector. Interestingly, I found on another table a stack of comic books, including several Classics Illustrated, Nancy, and Archie and his friends, but nothing pertaining to cowboys and the West. Comic books, in fact, show up at auction often.

    On the web, most references to the Comic Book Corral holder identified the cowboy as Rogers, though they offered nothing to back it up. I suppose that it was an easier way to sell it. A holder sold at auction in 2005 was said to be from the 1950s, and the auction house noted that neither Rogers nor the maker’s name was printed on it (although the auction house advertised it as a Roy Rogers “Comic Book Corral”). The antiques website kovels.com described it as a “basket bin” from the 1950s.

    roy rogers and trigger comic book

    Cover of Roy Rogers and Trigger comic book. The cowboy on the Comic Book Corral tin certainly resembles him. Photo from cinemagumbo.squarespace.com.

    It’s no surprise that the toy makers would use a cowboy who resembled Roy Rogers. From the 1930s to 1950s, he was one of the most famous and recognizable actors of his time. Who doesn’t remember Rogers, his wife Dale Evans, his dog Bullet and his palomino Trigger, who was just as famous as his owner. Known as “King of the Cowboys” (also the name of one of his movies), Rogers sang his way through more than 100 western films. He also performed in just as many TV shows in the 1950s.

    Commercially, Rogers was the subject of not only comic books, but he allowed his likeness to be used on numerous toys. His sanctioned toys came with a pledge to parents, and he required that the toys not only be tested in the lab but also that his own sons play with them at home.

    comic book holder

    An inside view of the compartments of the Comic Book Corral.

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