Texas author Larry McMurtry’s estate auction includes personal books

SAN ANTONIO – Stepping into Vogt Auction, you can’t help but wonder what stories the books, bones and boots could tell.

They are the belongings of the late Larry McMurtry, literary legend and Texas treasure. He died in March 2021. Now, pieces from his Archer City, Texas home will go to the highest bidder in an auction set for May 29 at Vogt Auction on Blanco Road.

Lonesome Dove is his most celebrated work, although he was a prolific writer of fiction, essays and screenplays, including Brokeback Mountain.

“What’s cool about this is these are his personal copies of his works and his famous things,” Rob Vogt said. “So, we’re talking about the ‘Terms of Endearment’ that’s off of his shelf in his master bedroom.”

Among the 312 pieces are several Hermes 3000 typewriters, all manual.

“Oh, yeah, he would have nothing else,” Vogt said.

McMurtry was known to bang out five double-spaced pages a day – every day. This son of a rancher’s fiction largely focused on the American West and cowboys. It was more real and raw than romanticized. His works won a Pulitzer, Emmys, and critical acclaim.

His Roycroft writing desk is estimated to sell for between $10,000 and $20,000.

“This is the desk that he and Diana Ossana actually wrote the screenplay to Brokeback Mountain on, which ultimately won an Academy Award,” Vogt said.

Displayed across the room are pieces of McMurtry’s life, from Hollywood mementos such as photos from the filming of “The Last Picture Show,” another of his stories to an old pinball machine to a Steinway piano.

His prized possessions are eclectic – a Chinese alarm clock, the score of an Italian opera and his metal Dr Pepper lunchbox. He loved Dr Pepper, evidenced by his Gruen Dr. Pepper wristwatch and bottle collection.

“He also very interestingly liked bones,” Vogt said. “He loved skulls. And, he had a huge collection of skulls, mostly as if out of a museum in his home there in Archer City.”

There’s an rhinoceros skull, bear skull and sea lion skull, among others.

McMurtry’s firearms collection is also included in the auction. A old Colt single action Army .45LC revolver is getting a lot of interest, Vogt said. He estimates it will fetch $2,000 to $3,000.

“But this is one of those interesting sales where it’s a wild card, with the celebrity factor with Larry and being such an indelible piece of Texas history,” he said.

McMurtry’s estate is getting the most interest Vogt says his company has seen in 50 years.

It’s a testament to a man who knew how to tell a story.

The auction begins at noon May 29. Bids can be made in person or online. In-person previews begin Monday, May 22. The catalog of items can be found at vogtauction.com.

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