The ruby slippers are the most famous pair of magical shoes in the world, worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 MGM movie The Wizard of Oz.
Like all the costumes in the movie, the shoes were designed by Gilbert Adrian, the head of MGM's costume department. The shoes were not made of real rubies, but ordinary mid-heel shoes and sequins were hand-sewn onto a chiffon surface to give the glowing effect.
One original pair of shoes was given away by MGM in a promotional contest in 1939 (to Roberta Jeffries Bauman). Another pair was sold at auction on 17 May 1970 to an anonymous buyer, along with many of the remaining MGM props. The price for that pair of shoes was $15,000. That pair was given by an anonymous donor and is now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC since 1979.
Interestingly, nobody knows for sure the exact number of pairs made for the movie. The Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn LeRoy, said of the ruby slippers, "We must have had five or ten pairs of those shoes."
All the ruby slippers are between size 5 and 6, varying between B and D widths to match the foot of a young Judy Garland and her stand-in Bobbie Koshay.
There are at least four pairs known to exist today, since the making of The Wizard of Oz. The pair that was given away as a contest prize in 1939 sold for $165,000 in 1988, and for $660,000 in 2000. One pair was stolen from a display at the 2005 Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, USA.
Today, Judy Garland's ruby slippers are considered the Holy Grail of all Hollywood memoribilia, with an estimated value topping of $3 million per pair.
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