1951 Autographed Lone Ranger Mask

Value (2004) | $25,000 Auction

GUEST:
What we're looking at is the mask that originally was used on the first episode of "The Lone Ranger." A lot of people think of the Lone Ranger with the black mask. The actual first masks were made of plaster of Paris over his face, and then they'd cover that with purple felt. It gave a very good contrast with the costume that was used on the program.

APPRAISER:
And it was, of course, filmed in black and white, and that's why they did that.

GUEST:
That's correct.

APPRAISER:
Now, you have a picture here, and there's a little boy, and that's you. And that's Clayton Moore,

GUEST:
Yes, it is.

APPRAISER:
the Lone Ranger. What's the family history here?

GUEST:
My father was very active in the film industry at that time, and he met a lot of famous people. They had a next-door neighbor who introduced my father to Clayton Moore, and they became very close friends.

APPRAISER:
And as a child, you used to go over Clayton's house?

GUEST:
Yes, we'd have barbecues over there and go swimming. As a matter of fact, Uncle Clayton taught me how to swim. And he'd come over to dinner one night and he brought this mask with him. And my dad asked him if he wouldn't autograph it, and he did just that. He signed it "Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger," and he dated it 1951. And then he put on the other side "To my pal," and then he put for my mother "and Lela, too." (laughs)

APPRAISER:
So, this is... the actual mask that the Lone Ranger wore in the first television series.

GUEST:
Correct-- the episode was "Pete and Pedro."

APPRAISER:
And he eventually changed it, correct?

GUEST:
That's correct. He did not like this mask because it covered too much of his face. He designed the "black mask," as it's known today.

APPRAISER:
This is an iconic item. Judy Garland's ruby red slippers... Clayton Moore's mask as the Lone Ranger. Now, I know they've sold Judy Garland's red slippers; I've never seen a signed pair. This is a signed Clayton Moore mask. It's one of these pieces that, you know, just kind of takes your breath away when you see it. I mean, everyone who's looked at this today has been, like, "Whoa," "Hey." You know, and everyone's a little curious: "Why is it purple?" But it makes perfect sense. Clayton Moore actually talks about this in his book.

GUEST:
Yes, he does.

APPRAISER:
He discusses this exact mask and why they used purple.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Well, I think that this is worth at least $25,000.

GUEST:
Oh, my gosh.

APPRAISER:
At an auction, who knows what could happen? The sky's the limit. The fact that it's signed by Clayton Moore to your father, the family connection... It's remarkable. The stuff comes into the show and it blows my mind. And here it is... Lone Ranger's mask. You know, who would've thought?

GUEST:
Yeah, exactly.

APPRAISER:
It's definitely worth its weight in silver, isn't it? (both laughing)

GUEST:
Absolutely!

Appraisal Details

Value Update (2004)
$25,000 Auction
Appraised value (2004)
$25,000 Auction
Event
Reno, NV (August 14, 2004)
Period
20th Century
Form
Mask
Material
Cloth

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