Several weeks ago I discussed the Wizard of Oz memorabilia with the Maryland Public Television who expressed interest in talking to me about filming short segments as part of
the Chesapeake Collectibles series.
I was happy to do it hoping to use this opportunity to educate public about the Wizard of Oz books series.
Preparing for the show I intended to discuss all 40 Oz titles. However, due to segment time constraints, I was only able to show 14 Oz books, and to point out the spines of the remaining Oz titles on the bookshelves.
Although it took over five hours to film, I ended with about a minute of airtime that will be dedicated to 14 Baum books, another minute or so to the first edition of Wizard of Oz and books signed by L. Frank Baum, and the remaining time was spent on MGM- related Wizard of Oz memorabilia, puppets, games and original manuscripts. I truly had a renewed appreciation for monumental work performed everyday by TV hosts, producers, and camera people!
As all of you know, my expertise is in the Wizard of Oz books, not necessarily MGM-related memorabilia. However, the experience with the TV production and the questions that I have been getting made it clear to me that folks are truly fascinated by the Wizard of Oz memorabilia associated with MGM movie. So I decided to provide my faithful readers with some interesting facts about it.
The most expensive items that commanded hundreds of thousands of dollars are:
○ Ruby Slippers (as some of you may know, one of the shoes in the pair that was kept in the Wizard of Oz museum was stolen, and another one is still at the museum. The third single shoe was sold at the auction at the price of almost $700,000)
○ Acrylic and Silkscreen “The Witch” from Myth Series, ink on canvas, signed and dated by Andy Warhol 1981 (sold for 2.3M in 2011)
○ Dress worn by Judy Garland in the movie, which, according to Robert Earl, the Planet Hollywood Chairman and owner, is worth about $500,000.
○ The Witch’s Hat from the musical “Wicked” was recently sold for $200,000
Other Wizard of Oz memorabilia of interest that was sold for over $100,000:
○ The crystal ball used by the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz," preserved for decades at a prop house by a special effects technician, was sold for $126,500
○ Two copies of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz inscribed by L. Frank Baum were sold in the past decade for
These are the examples of Oz memorabilia that were sold for close to or above $20,000:
○ An original, unrestored long musket guard’s gun (uncommonly complete) from the movie was sold for $44,250:
○ Meinhardt Raabe's "Munchkin Coroner" screen-worn hat from The Wizard of Oz was sold for $30,000:
○ Original Winkie Guard spear, including metal spearhead and original wooden staff was sold for $32,500:
Wizard of Oz poster
from the movie was sold for $19,500 in 2004 ○ Judy Garland's signed portrait as "Dorothy" from The Wizard of Oz was sold for $20,000
○ The original artwork drawings by John Neill were sold for $8500
○ The first edition, first issue of the Mother Goose in Prose sold for $8000
○ Bound typed manuscript with numerous corrections in pencil with two pencil No. 2 studies by Dick Martin was sold for $9000
○ The Wizard of Oz Waddle Book was sold for $7000
○ The Wizard of Oz, original press book complete with herald was sold for $6000
Obviously, these all are examples of unique, sometimes one-of-a-kind, Wizard of Oz memorabilia. Not all Oz-related memorabilia is as rare, special and valuable as the items that I described in this article. Nevertheless, I must note that in the last couple of years there has been an increasing interest in the memorabilia as a subject matter in general, and the Wizard of Oz in particular. The Profiles in History auction house created not only memorabilia shows through their website, but also it is being televised through Sci-Fi TV channels and youtube.
The History channel has its popular show “Pawnshop” that also educates the public about various collectible items and sparks interest in different memorabilia genres.
As far as the continuing and increasing interest in the Wizard of Oz subject matter, I am happy to report that one of the movies, “Witches of Oz,” has already been completed and can be downloaded for free to watch.
Sam Raimi, who directed James Franco in the "Spider-Man" trilogy, is the director of "Oz, the Great and Powerful." The film is scheduled to start shooting in July in Michigan and Disney plans to release the 3D film on March 8, 2013.
London Cast Recording of The Wizard of Oz, starring Michael Crawford, has the June release date in the US.
All of us, including myself, experienced the downturn in economy. Yet I always look at it as an opportunity to obtain the Wizard of Oz memorabilia at a discount and own precious items that otherwise I would not have been able to possess. I suggest you do the same. As the economy improves and the Oz subject matter gets increased recognition through various media, your Oz items will become even more valuable