Will Dorothy’s Slippers Slip Away?


When it comes to auctions, there really is no place like home. Where else can you bid on Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber? In truth, this town’s been too much of a good thing for collectors, who for decades have been snatching up pieces of cinematic history. Matters might have been different if L.A. had a proper repository for movie memorabilia. That could change now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has partnered with LACMA to finally give the movie capital the film museum it deserves. Moguls, get out your checkbooks.

This month the gavel is being raised for one of four surviving pairs of red slippers that Judy Garland donned in The Wizard of Oz. (One pair is in private hands, another is at the Smithsonian, and the third has been missing since it was stolen six years ago from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota.) This particular pair is marked “#7 Judy Garland” on the inside lining and has a presale estimate of $2 million to $3 million, according to Profiles in History, the Calabasas Hills auction house conducting the sale. It’s the same firm that in June auctioned off Debbie Reynolds’s cache of film costumes that she spent five decades accumulating; the actress was unable to find the funding to open a museum of her own. That sale brought in more than $22 million—$5.5 million alone for the iconic ivory dress Marilyn Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch.

When the ruby reds go on the block this Friday, December 16, here’s hoping the Academy holds up a paddle. These slippers have soles that show light, circular scuffs, which may indicate they’re the ones Garland had on when she clicked her heels and said she wanted to go home. Home should be right here in L.A.

Photograph by Hacob