Judy Garland’s Wizard of Oz dress up for auction as Wisconsin woman claims it belongs to her

A once lost costume from The Wizard of Oz is set to go up for auction. Pic credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment/YouTube

After recently being rediscovered, Judy Garland’s iconic dress from The Wizard of Oz may not be going up for auction after all.

The blue-and-white gingham dress, which was found after being “lost” for decades, is currently planned to be featured at Bonhams’ Classic Hollywood: Film and Television sale. According to ABC7 Chicago, the international auction house has been estimated to receive up to $1.2 million for the rare piece in cinematic history.

The dress was most notably worn by Judy Garland during the film’s scene in which her character Dorothy has an altercation with the Wicked Witch of the West in the witch’s castle. After becoming one of the most recognized pieces of movie memorabilia, the checkered dress was eventually gifted to the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art at the Catholic University of America.

According to the university, the dress was gifted in 1970 by Garland’s close friend and actress Mercedes McCambridge to the school’s head of drama, Rev. Gilbert Hartke.

Wisconsin woman claims Garland’s dress rightfully belongs to her

Recently, a Wisconsin woman claiming Rev. Hartke was her uncle filed a lawsuit stating herself as the dress’s rightful owner – not the university.

As of now, no more information has been released and the auction is still set to happen on May 24th.

According to the Bonhams auction house, there were only five known costume dresses worn by Garland in the film and one was sadly lost in a fire. Only two of the four dresses remaining have the white blouse under the pinafore intact – making this piece even rarer.

Outfits from the Wizard of Oz have been no stranger to racking up high prices at auctions – Bonhams previously sold another Dorothy costume for $1.5 million in 2015 and Bert Lahr’s original Cowardly Lion costume for over $3 million in 2014.

Garland’s iconic checkered dress was lost for 50 years

In a segment with Inside Edition last year, the rediscovery of Garland’s iconic Wizard of Oz dress was explained after seemingly being “lost” for five decades. After Hartke retired in the 1980s, the dress went missing and was unable to be located.

Although people at the university searched for it for years, it was deemed “long-gone” until a retired professor was sifting through old boxes in his office during the coronavirus pandemic. The dress, although yellowed, was found fully intact inside a trash bag that was placed in an old box.

The iconic piece of movie memorabilia also still had the actress’s name written on the inside seam of the dress, along with a few numbers seemingly written in black marker.

As of now, the dress is still set to be sold at Bonhams’ auction in Los Angeles later this month.

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