Judy Garland’s Ruby Slippers To Be Auctioned Off In December

Judy Garland’s ruby slippers have been returned to their original keeper and will tour internationally before going to a new owner.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation indicted a man who stole Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, which she wore in The Wizard of Oz (1939). The Associated Press reported the shoes finally returned to their owner after 20 years since they were stolen. However, the pair won’t stay with its owner, Michael Shaw. The shoes will embark on an international tour before being put up for bidding at Heritage Auctions in December.

The memorabilia collector turned the ruby slippers over to the auction company. Garland’s Dorothy used them as she traversed the Yellow Brick Road in the film. 

READ ALSO: Heist Gone Wrong: Man Steals Judy Garland’s Wizard Of Oz Ruby Slippers, Thinking The Gems Were Real

Multiple copies of Garland’s ruby slippers

Garland’s portrayal of Dorothy made the ruby slippers achieve a legendary status according to the National Museum of American History

The slippers, created by Gilbert Adrian, became analogous to Dorothy’s journey home to Kansas. She had to click the heels three times while saying “There’s no place like home” repeatedly. 

The museum said Garland’s ruby slippers were replicated for the film and each bore unique markings. They are adorned with sequins, beads, and rhinestones.

The unique markings on the ruby slippers
The unique markings on the ruby slippers/Photo from Heritage Auctions

Terry Jon Martin, the person who stole the slippers, revealed last year that he thought the slippers had real rubies. He threw them away once he found out they weren’t authentic

Judy Garland's ruby slippers, also known as "The Traveling Shoes"
Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, also known as “The Traveling Shoes”/Photo from Heritage Auctions

“Welcoming back an old friend”

Shaw reunited with Garland’s ruby slippers during a private ceremony at the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota. Heritage Auctions documented their reunion but it was brief as the former owner handed the slippers over to the auction company. 

“It’s like welcoming back an old friend I haven’t seen in years,” Shaw said with tears streaming down his eyes. The slippers had the moniker “The Traveling Shoes” due to its long exhibition history. 

Michael Shaw shed tears as he saw Judy Garland’s ruby slippers once again
Michael Shaw shed tears as he saw Judy Garland’s ruby slippers once again/Photo from Heritage Auctions

Dorothy’s traveling shoes will tour internationally, with stops in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Tokyo. After which, Heritage Auction will put it up for bidding in December.

Special Agent Christopher Dudley said it was rewarding to see Shaw see the slippers again at Judy Garland’s home. His friends on the museum staff joined him for the incredible moment. “It is a privilege for the FBI and our Art Crime Team to work alongside law enforcement partners who truly value the importance of protecting our nation’s cultural heritage,” Dudley expressed.

Heritage Auctions’ Senior Director of Hollywood and Entertainment Brian Chanes with Garland’s ruby slippers’ current owner, Shaw
Heritage Auctions’ Senior Director of Hollywood and Entertainment Brian Chanes with Garland’s ruby slippers’ current owner, Shaw /Photo from Heritage Auctions

Most important prop in Hollywood

The Judy Garland Museum borrowed the ruby slippers for its annual festival in 2005 and should have been a 10-week visit. It disappeared for more than 20 years after Martin broke into Garland’s home and destroyed the glass. This was Shaw’s worst nightmare

The FBI and the Grand Rapids Police recovered the pair in 2018, took the slippers to the Smithsonian, and had the pair compared. It was revealed that the construction, materials, and wear are identical to the museum’s pair.

The slippers became a symbol of hope, magic, and the enduring power of storytelling. “You cannot overstate the importance of Dorothy’s ruby slippers: They are the most important prop in Hollywood history,” Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena remarked. He added it was thrilling to journey from the yellow brick road to the auction block to find its new home.

Banner photo from Heritage Auctions.

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