‘The Wizard of Oz’ Ruby Slippers and 10 Other Most Valuable Pieces of Movie Memorabilia
There’s no place like home. A pair of ruby slippers worn by actress Judy Garland in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz have made their way back to the rightful owners 13 years after they were stolen from a Minnesota museum.
The iconic shoes vanished in 2005 from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, during a nighttime “smash-and-grab” robbery. In 2017, a dozen years after the theft, a person reached out to the company that insured the shoes, saying that he had information about their whereabouts.
At that point, “it became apparent that those involved were in reality attempting to extort the owners of the slippers,” said FBI special agent Christopher Dudley. A sting operation was set up, and the slippers were recovered earlier in the summer. They were then sent to the Smithsonian Institution to determine if they were the real ruby slippers. The museum owns one of the four pairs of slippers that are known to still exist.
The slippers – which are actually made of wood pulp, silk, plastic, gelatin, and glass, according to the Associated Press — were insured for $1 million but could be worth $2 to $7 million today. That makes them some of the most valuable pieces of movie memorabilia of all time.
Dorothy’s ruby slippers aren’t the only old prop that’s worth a bundle. Collectors have also paid millions for the following pieces of movie memorabilia.
1. Marilyn Monroe’s white dress
- Price: $5.6 million
Marilyn Monroe donned her famous white halter dress for the unforgettable subway grate scene in The Seven-Year Itch. Actress Debbie Reynolds – who had a vast collection of Hollywood memorabilia, including a pair of ruby slippers – sold the dress in 2011, where it fetched $5.6 million at auction.
2. Audrey Hepburn’s “Ascot dress”
- Price: $4.5 million
Another item from Debbie Reynolds’ collection, Audrey Hepburn wore an eye-catching black and white dress designed by Cecil Beaton in My Fair Lady, during a scene when her character attends the Ascot Races. It sold for $4.5 million in 2011.
3. James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger
- Price: $4.6 million
Even when they’re featured in forgettable films, Bond cars tend to go for a pretty penny at auction. But none have topped the $4.6 million selling price for the Aston Martin DB5, which Motor1 calls “the most famous Bond vehicle.” Sean Connery drove the car in Goldfinger, and it was sold to collector Harry Yeaggy.
4. The Maltese Falcon
- Price: $4.1 million
In the 1941 noir classic The Maltese Falcon, Humphrey Bogart stars as Sam Spade, a hard-boiled detective hired to hunt down a priceless, jewel-encrusted statue of a bird, which ultimately turns out to be a worthless fake. Now, it’s the prop from the movie that people are fighting over. It sold at auction in 2013 for $4.1 million. But in a twist worthy of a Hammett story, it’s possible that the statue that was sold wasn’t the one used in the famous film, according to Vanity Fair.
5. Sam’s piano from Casablanca
- Price: $3.4 million
“Play it again, Sam.” Whoever bought this piano can tinkle the famous ivories whenever they want. The miniature instrument – it has 30 fewer keys than normal — was featured in the 1942 film Casablanca and sold for more than $3 million at auction in 2014.
6. Cowardly Lion costume
Price: $3 million
The ruby slippers aren’t the only piece of valuable Wizard of Oz memorabilia. In 2014, the Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Bert Lahr sold for $3 million. The costume was made with real lion skin and fur.
7. R2-D2 unit
- Price: $2.75 million
Someone found the droid they were looking for at a 2017 auction, when an R2-D2 unit sold for $2.75 million at auction. The item was actually assembled from pieces from the original Star Wars films as well as The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, according to CNN.
8. The “Captain America” motorcycle from Easy Rider
- Price: $1.35 million
Peter Fonda rode this bike – dubbed the “Captain America” because of it’ American flag-themed design – in the 1969 movie Easy Rider. Despite questions about the chopper’s authenticity, it sold for more than $1 million at auction in 2014, according to the Robb Report.
9. Saturday Night Fever dance floor
- Price: $1.2 million
Was it a dedicated disco fan who decided they just had to own the light-up dance floor featured in Saturday Night Fever? While the buyer remains anonymous, we do know they spent $1.2 million on this famous piece of movie history.
10. The original Batmobile
- Price: $4.6 million
This one is a TV prop, not a movie prop, but we had to include it anyway. In 2013, a collector forked over nearly $5 million for the Batmobile used in the 1960s Adam West TV series. The buyer, the owner of an Arizona logistics company, said he planned to put the car in his living room.
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