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Hollywood

Would You Pay $3 Million for Ruby Slippers From 'Wizard of Oz'?

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Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 5:05 PM
click to enlarge Home comes at a price.
  • Home comes at a price.

Ruby slippers! They're everywhere these days. Namely, slung from the many crackling telephone lines of Los Angeles -- an art project originally thought to be marketing for the West Coast opening of "Wicked" but really a preview to artist Manny Castro's new show in Echo Park.

But in the end, however romantic and ideologically loaded, those are all fakes made from glitter and glue. Only four pairs of real ruby slippers, as worn by Judy Garland in 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," are left in existence, according to Hollywood memorabilia dealer Profiles in History. And only one of those is available to own -- for a staggering "presale estimate" of $2 million to $3 million. Here's how to bid, you starstruck loon:

Show up to that famed traveling house of relics responsible for auctioning off Marilyn Monroe's upskirt subway dress for $5 freaking million, at a yet-to-be-disclosed location (probably Beverly Hills) on December 16, paddle in hand and determination in heart.

Once you've dropped the worth of three Malibu beachfronts on some 70-year-old sequins, here's the kind of responsibility you'll bear, waking up every day next to those shinny little miracles, via The Ruby Slippers of Oz author Rhys Thomas:

"They were much more than just a piece of Hollywood memorabilia, much more than a valuable piece of industry history. They transcended Hollywood, to the point where they represented the powerful image of innocence to all America."

No pressure though!

Of the four pairs of Garland-worn ruby slippers out there in the world, these happen to be the ones she clicks three times as part of her "no place like home" routine (evidenced by circular scuffs on the soles), and the only ones you'll ever be able to get your hands on. The other three, the auctioneer explains, might as well be lost in a 2-D poppy field:

"One pair is the center piece of the Icons of American Culture exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and is one of the most asked about artifacts at the museum. So viewed are these slippers that the carpet in front of them has had to be replaced numerous times due to the crush of shoes that have brought visitors from all over the world to see their glimmer. Another pair was unfortunately stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, and will likely never be recovered. The third pair is in private hands and will not be reaching the market any time soon."

So yeah, these are it. Come prepared for some serious raising power from the uppest crust of Hollywood nerd.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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