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Dress worn by Judy Garland in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, lost for decades, goes up for auction

A dress Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz” that went missing for decades before it was found at a Catholic university last year could have fetched more than $1 million in her life. Auction.

The classic blue and white gingham dress will be unveiled at Bonhams New York April 23-29, Bonhams said. It will then head to Los Angeles to go on sale on May 24 with prices starting at 800,000. to $1.2 million, Bonhams said in a statement.

“The iconic blue and white gingham dress is one of only two existing gowns to retain the white blouse and only one of four surviving blue and white gowns,” the statement said. This extremely rare and iconic Hollywood outfit was also associated with a particular scene from the beloved film, where Dorothy faces off against the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizarding Castle. .”

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The dress was donated to the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, in 1973. “It was given to Rev Gilbert Hartke, head of the theater program, by actress Mercedes McCambridge, who was a former entertainer. residency at CatholicU in 1972,” according to the university.

The Catholic University’s Tower newspaper said the dress was meant to be a source of “hope, strength and courage” for students.

But then it disappeared. Rumors about the dress being donated seem to be waning as years go by without anyone seeing the dress.

Matt Ripa, who worked in the drama department, and the Hartke, whose building is named after the priest, would search for the dress from time to time, but came to believe that “the legend of Dorothy’s dress is a tall tale. super (of which many stories exist for Father Hartke), “according to the university.

Image: Judy Garland Dorothy Dress
Estimated at $800,000-$1,200,000, the iconic blue and white gingham dress is one of only two existing dresses to retain the white blouse and only one of four blue and white gowns to survive. in.Bonhams

But one day last summer, while the faculty was undergoing renovations, Ripa noticed a bag atop the faculty mailbox. Inside the bag was a box, and inside the box was the dress.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Ripa – “Needless to say, I found a lot of interesting things in Hartke during my time at Catholic University, but I think it worked!” .

The university contacted the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, which has a number of artifacts from “The Wizard of Oz”.

Experts at the museum say the dresses identified as genuine, like the one found at the university, have specific features such as a secret bag, “Judy Garland” written in hands in a script and repaired the tear in a thinner part of the dress. usually tore when Garland took it off.

Father Gilbert Hartke holds the dress.
Father Gilbert Hartke holds the dress.Polite Bonhams

Evidence that this dress is authentic is “strong”, according to the university. Proceeds from the dress will go to the theater department of the Catholic University of America.

“This dress has an incredible history and Bonhams is honored to be a part of its journey. The key costumes from this iconic film rarely make it to the auction market, and to be able to pinpoint the exact scene where Judy Garland wears the set is thrilling,” said Helen Hall, cultural director. mass at Bonhams in Los Angeles, said.

According to Bonhams, the other dress with the blouse was sold by Bonhams in 2015 for $1.5 million, the highest for a Dorothy dress.

Bonhams also sold a Cowardly Lion costume worn by actor Bert Lahr for more than $3 million in 2014.

The dress isn’t the first relic from the film to go missing. In 2018, A pair of Garland’s ruby ​​red sandals have been recovered 13 years after they were stolen from a museum. The pair is one of only four that still exist, including one located in the Smithsonian, where, like the dress, the stolen shoes were authentically removed.

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