Judy Garland's 'Wizard of Oz' dress fetches over $1.5 million at auction

Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:28pm EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The blue gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz" sold for $1.56 million at an auction in New York on Monday.

The pinafore, one of 10 thought to have been made for Garland in her role as Dorothy in the movie, had been estimated by Bonhams auction house to fetch between $800,000 and $1.2 million at its Hollywood memorabilia sale held in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies.

Described as bearing sweat stains around the neck but in good condition, the costume was believed to be one of only two such pinafores that Garland actually wore on-screen for the classic musical. It was sold to an unidentified buyer bidding by telephone.

The final price for the dress, made by MGM's famous costume designer, Adrian, was $1,565,000 including commission.

Officials said they were pleasantly surprised by the final price.

"But the great pieces should bring a lot of money," Catherine Williamson, Bonhams' director of entertainment memorabilia, said after the hammer fell.

Prices of famous memorabilia have soared in recent years. Just a year ago, the Cowardly Lion costume worn in the movie by actor Bert Lahr, including the sculpted likeness of Lahr's face, sold for almost $3.1 million at Bonhams.

The same "Oz" dress was last sold in 2012 at auction for $490,000, after first having been consigned and sold in 1981 by Kent Warner, an MGM costume designer who assisted with the landmark 1970 MGM studio auction.   Continued...

The "Dorothy" dress warn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz is seen during a media preview of Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies Treasures from the Dream Factory at Bonhams in New York November 19, 2015.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton