Yellow brick road to riches : Dress worn by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz to sell for a staggering £750,000
The sweat-stained dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz is set to become one of the world’s most expensive costumes by selling for a staggering £750,000.
Dorothy Gale’s blue and white gingham dress is one of the most unmistakable items of clothing in film history.
It is thought Garland had around ten dresses made for filming of the 1939 classic – but many were recycled by MGM and reused for other films.
Memorabilia from the Oscar-winning musical is highly sought-after, with collectors paying huge figures for mementos.
The owner of this dress has now decided to cash in and has entered it into Bonhams’ Treasures from the Dream Factory sale, which will be held in November in New York.
Memorabilia experts at the auction house have given the dress a guide price $1.2 million (£770,000).
Catherine Williamson, director of entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, believes the universal appeal of the Wizard of Oz will mean huge levels of interest.
She said: “The dress is one of those costumes which are instantly identifiable. You immediately know it was Judy Garland who wore it as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz.
“It is the costume she wears throughout the film, which is a great movie and the definition of a classic.
“What is great about this is it has signs of use: there are sweat stains around the neck, but it is still in fine condition.
“Last year we sold a test dress but this one was actually used on screen. It is a privilege to be selling it and I am expecting a lot of interest.”
Demand for props and costumes from The Wizard of Oz is at a high.
The test dress Bonhams previously auctioned, which wasn’t used on screen, sold for #157,000.
This price was dwarfed by the Lion costume, which sold for a staggering #1.9 million. Dorothy’s slippers would likely sell for a similar figure if they were put up for auction.
If the Dorothy Gale dress hits the #770,000 price-tag, it will become one of the most expensive dresses in history, thanks in part to Judy Garland’s star quality.
Garland played Dorothy as a 17-year-old starlet, with the Gingham dress designed to make her look closer in age to the 12-year-old orphan character.
She became one of the world’s most famous celebrities – and as troubled as she was talented.
As a child star she became addicted to drugs from a young age
She married five times, and is the mother of Liza Minnelli, but struggled with mental health problems and addictions throughout her life.
The actress died in 1969 aged just 47 after taking an accidental overdose of barbiturates in London.
Her famous dress will be sold on November 23 in New York.
Catherine added: “Judy Garland is in the top tier for collectability alongside Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn and this costume is in the top ten of dresses. I think the market will be international.”