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Dorothy Dress From 'The Wizard Of Oz' Sells For More Than $1.5M

Judy Garland is seen as Dorothy in <em>Wizard of Oz</em>, wearing her blue and white dress, and one of the dresses made for the movie is displayed in London.
AP
Judy Garland is seen as Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, wearing her blue and white dress, and one of the dresses made for the movie is displayed in London.

There are few costumes more recognizable than the blue-and-white checkered dress Judy Garland wore as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. On Monday, an unidentified buyer snapped it up for $1.5 million over the phone during an auction at Bonhams in New York City.

The price exceeded expectations. It had been expected to sell for between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

Several dresses were created for Judy Garland to wear in the film. Some she did not wear during filming; they are referred to as "test" dresses. One such costume was sold at Bonhams last year for $245,000.

Wizard of Oz memorabilia has fetched high prices at auction in the past. Last year, the Cowardly Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr sold for more than $3 million.

The most iconic costume item from the 1939 movie might be Dorothy's ruby slippers. Researchers say four pairs were made for the film, including a pair held at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. A decade ago, a different pair was stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn. The executive director of the museum says the shoes were insured for $1 million and could be worth between $2 million and $3 million now.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alexandra Starr