Pioneering Houston heart surgeon's unique collection up for auction

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- About 400 pieces of Dr. Denton Cooley's estate, including his parade wagon, antique phone booth and artwork, were up for auction.

Dr. Cooley performed the first successful heart transplant. He also founded the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

He died in 2016 at the age of 96.

Dr. Cooley and his wife lived on 400 acres known as Cool Acres Ranch in Orchard, Texas. The property is now being sold and so are its contents.

"His wife, Mrs. Cooley, she had impeccable taste," Jonathan Goodling, Vice President of Gallery Auctions, said.

His unique collection drew a crowd to Gallery Auctions. One of the higher priced items to sell was one of the Texas Children's Hospital cows that were around the city in 2008.

"An individual in the pediatrics field won it for $6,000," Goodling said.

An antique phone booth that is estimated to have been built between 1930 and 1960 was also sold.

Dr. Cooley's neighbor, Louis Schwarz, and his wife went to the auction. He said they bought a few more items than they intended to. They paid $1,200 for Dr. Cooley's parade wagon.

"When no one was bidding on it, I hate to see it languish like that," Schwarz said.
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