Welcome to another Fun Fact Friday!
Today we discuss a pair of shoes worth more than most of us will make in a few years (or a decade). Of course, we're talking about the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in the movie Wizard of Oz, which sold at auction for over $660,000 in 2000.
In L. Frank Baum's original book, Dorothy's enchanted slippers were silver. However, costume designers opted for ruby red shoes for the Technicolor film adaptation to provide a more vivid contrast against the yellow-brick road.
Yes, you read that right. Initially made for the movie in 1939, these shoes have become one of the most expensive pieces of movie memorabilia ever sold. And why not? They're sparkly, red, and associated with one of the most beloved movies of all time. Plus, they're magical - just click your heels three times, and you're home (or, you know, at the bank depositing your auction winnings).
So how did these shoes become so valuable? Part of it is their rarity - multiple pairs of ruby slippers were made for the movie, but only a few are known to exist today. And of those, this particular pair was in excellent condition, with only minor wear and tear from its time on set.
One pair of ruby slippers even went missing. In 2005, a pair vanished from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where the actress was born. Presumably, they traced the path of the Yellow Brick Road as they eventually found their way back home.
But there's also something to be said for the power of nostalgia. The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic that has been beloved by generations of viewers, and the ruby slippers are a vital part of that legacy. They're instantly recognizable and iconic and hold a special place in the hearts of fans, young and old.
Of course, not everyone has $660,000 lying around to spend on a pair of shoes (if you do, can we be friends?). But that doesn't mean we can't appreciate the ruby slippers from afar. They remind us of the magic of the movies, the power of nostalgia, and the incredible things that can happen when an object captures our collective imagination.
Harry Winston's son Ronald Wilson was so captivated by them he created his own version in 1989 in tribute to the 50th anniversary of the movie. The pair features 1,350 carats of rubies and 50 carats of diamonds, valued at $3.01 million.
The House of Harry Winston spent two months placing 4,600 rubies on their ruby slippers.
Ultimately, the story of the ruby slippers is one of magic, nostalgia, and perseverance. Despite being lost and stolen over the years, these shoes have managed to survive as symbols of the enduring power of cinema and the human imagination. And who knows - maybe someday, a new pair of ruby slippers will capture our hearts and inspire a new generation of fans. But, until then, we can all take comfort in the fact that the original shoes have found their way home, where they can continue to sparkle and shine for years to come.