Judy Garland’s Sweat-Stained ‘Wizard of Oz’ Dress Fetches $1.5 Million

The same blue-checked dress has more than doubled in price in just three years.

A scene from The Wizard of Oz. Courtesy of MGM.
A scene from The Wizard of Oz. Courtesy of MGM.

On November 23, Bonham’s auction house sold the iconic blue-checked dress worn by Judy Garlard in the Wizard of Oz for just over $1.5 million, with premium ($1,565,000). The total nicely exceeded the $1.2 million high estimate for the lot. A spokesperson for Bonhams said the dress was chased by three bidders before selling to a phone bidder.

The dress is one of 10 examples thought to have been made for Garland for the movie and was the star lot of Bonhams’s Hollywood memorabilia sale, held in New York in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and titled “TCM Presents… Treasures From the Dream Factory.” In all, the sale offered roughly 400 pieces of classic Hollywood memorabilia and took in just over $4 million.

dress-hi-res-dorothy

Image: Courtesy of Bonhams

 

According to Bonhams’s catalogue entry, the dress was retained by Kent Warner, a costume collector. It was previously sold at a Christie’s New York collectibles sale back in 1981 (the final price there was not available though the estimate was a mere $2,000 to $3,000 at the time), and again in 2012 when it sold for $490,000—less than half of the current price, illustrating just how heated the market for rare memorabilia has become in recent years.

Last year, the Wizard of Oz‘s “cowardly lion” costume—a one-of-a-kind garment made of real lion fur and skins and worn by “Lion” actor Burt Lahr throughout filming—sold at Bonhams for $3 million.

Bonhams’s director of entertainment memorabilia, Catherine Williamson, said the Garland dress “is one of only two complete Dorothy costumes in existence,” adding that it’s “considered a true and timeless icon of classic Hollywood.” Reuters notes that it has visible sweat stains around the neck area (see photo).

Another iconic work offered in the sale was a golden ticket from another classic film, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The ticket scored $35,000 on an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.


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