There’s no place like home for Dorothy’s ruby slippers after the FBI finally recovered them.
The famous shoes, worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film Wizard of Oz, were stolen thirteen years ago from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
According to AP, the thief took the slippers in August 2005 by breaking into the museum through a window and taking them from the display case, which workers said was the most dramatic thing to have occurred at the location.
“The biggest thing that ever happened to our museum was getting the slippers stolen,” museum co-founder Jon Miner told CNN affiliate KQDS in 2015. “We were literally crying.”
The shoes were said to be insured for £780,000 but valuers suggest they were worth between £1.56 million to £2.34 million and could have earned as much as £3.89 million at auction.
Garland wore four pairs of ruby slippers during the production of the classic musical, and the sparkling effect was achieved with sequins and a bow made out of red glass beads.
The stolen slippers were lent to the museum for its annual Wizard of Oz festival by memorabilia collector Michael Shaw. In the documentary The Slippers, he says he was assured that “the museum had security,” though he did, in fact, reject the museum’s offer to store the shoes each night in its vault for fear of the shoes getting damaged from being handled daily.
Shaw claims to have bought the shoes from a Hollywood costume designer who had located found them at MGM Studios in Culver City, California.
The other three pairs are being kept safe: one pair is on display at the Smithsonian, while another will be displayed at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open this year in Los Angeles after Leonardo DiCaprio organised a group to buy them.
The third pair is owned by a private collector who bought them at auction for £128,459 from a school teacher who had herself won the pair in 1940 at a contest.
The movie memorabilia business has proven to be quite lucrative with many props and pieces going on sale for hundreds of thousands of pounds, even millions.