'Wizard of Oz' Dorothy Dress Fetches $1.56 Million at Auction

That’s triple what it went for in 2012.
Courtesy Everett Collection

It's gonna take a lot of yellow bricks to pay for this purchase.

One of the best-preserved blue gingham Dorothy dresses from the Wizard of Oz sold at auction today as part of Bonhams' Treasures from the Dream Factory sale conducted in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies. The dress went for $1.56 million (including buyer’s premium).

The final price was above the $800,000 to $1,200,000 presale estimate and triple the $480,000 the dress sold for in 2012. But that number is less than the amount a pair of ruby red slippers ($2 million) and a Cowardly Lion costume ($3.1 million) sold for recently.

The dress comes with a storied pedigree. Kent Warner, the costume collector hired to help MGM conduct its legendary 1970 prop and costume catalog (because corporate raider Kirk Kerkorian was trying to milk every dollar out of the studio), cherry-picked many of the best pieces for his personal collection, including this dress and a pair of ruby red slippers. Both were then sold at Christie’s big 1981 auction. Warner’s pair of ruby reds are now owned by the Academy for display in its future museum.

The dress was described as: "Comprising a blue and white gingham pinafore with a fitted bodice and a full skirt, two mother-of-pearl buttons on the front and two on the back, with a hook-and-eye closure at the back, bearing a bias label inscribed in script, 'Judy Garland,' and a short cream-colored cotton blouse with a high neck, pale blue rickrack trim at the cuffs and neck, hook-and-eye and snap closure at the back, reinforced shoulders, and a bias label inscribed, 'Judy Garland / 4461'."

The identity of the buyer was not revealed.

Other notable sales included a Steve McQueen racing suit from Le Mans that sold for $425,000, a Rosebud sled gifted to screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz at the conclusion of the filming of Citizen Kane and a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket that went for $35,000. 

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