Judy Garland's 'Wizard of Oz' ruby slippers are going on a world tour before being auctioned

Ruby slippers once worn by Judy Garland in the "The Wizard of Oz."
Ruby slippers once worn by Judy Garland in the "The Wizard of Oz." Copyright AP Photo/Jeff Baenen, File
By Amber Louise BryceAP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

Stolen nearly 20 years ago, Judy Garland's recovered ruby red slippers will tour the world before being auctioned later this year where they are expected to fetch at least €3 million.

ADVERTISEMENT

"There's no place like home", but Judy Garland's iconic ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz are off on a world tour instead, ahead of being put up for sale. 

Stolen nearly 20 years ago from the Judy Garland Museum in the late actor’s hometown, the recovered slippers were given to an auction company, which plans to take them on an international tour - dates for which have yet to be announced.

They will go up for auction in December 2024, an official with Dallas-based Heritage Auctions said Monday (18 March).

“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 said in the news release.

Having danced down the Yellow Brick Road and famously clicked their heels three times, the slippers are one of only four remaining pairs worn by Garland in Victor Fleming's 1939 musical. 

The other three are held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of American History and a private collector.

Previously belonging to memorabilia collector Michael Shaw, this pair is particularly coveted, believed to be the highest quality of them all and used in the close-up shots of Dorothy clicking her heels. 

The case of the stolen ruby slippers

In 2005, Shaw loaned the slippers to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

That summer, someone smashed through a display case and stole them, their whereabouts remaining a mystery until the FBI recovered them in 2018.

The slippers were returned to Shaw in a ceremony in February, but details weren't disclosed until Monday (18 March).

“It’s like welcoming back an old friend I haven’t seen in years,” Shaw said in a news release.

The man who stole the slippers, Terry Jon Martin, 76, pleaded guilty in October to theft of a major artwork, admitting to using a hammer to smash the glass of the museum’s door and display case in what his attorney said was an attempt to pull off “one last score” after turning away from a life of crime. 

He was sentenced in January to time served because of his poor health.

Jerry Hal Saliterman is wheeled out of U.S. District Court in Minnesota, March 15, 2024.
Jerry Hal Saliterman is wheeled out of U.S. District Court in Minnesota, March 15, 2024.Steve Karnowski/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

An indictment made public on 17 March showed that a second man, 76-year-old Jerry Hal Saliterman, has been charged with theft of a major artwork and witness tampering. 

He did not enter a plea when he made his first appearance on 15 March in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota while in a wheelchair and on supplemental oxygen.

The indictment says that from August 2005 to July 2018, Saliterman “received, concealed, and disposed of an object of cultural heritage" — specifically, "an authentic pair of ‘ruby slippers’ worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz.’" 

The indictment says Saliterman knew they were stolen. 

It also says that, starting sometime last year, he threatened to release a sex tape of a woman and “take her down with him” if she didn’t stay quiet about the crime.

ADVERTISEMENT

Saliterman's attorney, John Brink, declined to discuss the case in depth but said his client is not guilty.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong,” Brink said.

Court documents do not indicate how Martin and Saliterman may have been connected.

Martin said at an October hearing that he had hoped to take what he thought were real rubies from the shoes and sell them. But a person who deals in stolen goods informed him the rubies weren’t real, Martin said. So he got rid of the slippers.

Defense attorney Dane DeKrey wrote in a court document that Martin had no idea about the cultural significance of the ruby slippers and had never seen The Wizard of Oz.

ADVERTISEMENT

The FBI said a man approached the insurer in 2017 and claimed he could help recover them but demanded more than the $200,000 (€184,362) reward being offered. 

The slippers were recovered during an FBI sting in Minneapolis the next year. 

Federal prosecutors have put the slippers’ market value at about $3.5 million (€3.23 million).

Share this articleComments

You might also like