split image of wizard of oz and ruby slipper

Judy Garland’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz are arguably among the most famous shoes ever made.

The iconic sequined shoes were pivotal to the plot of the 1939 musical film based on L. Frank Baum’s fantasy novel.

But did you know they are also record holders?

The slippers became the most expensive shoes from a film sold at auction in 1988 when a pair of them sold at Christie’s, New York, for $165,000 (then £90,000).

The same pair went back under the hammer in 2000, when they were sold at the same auction house for $666,000 (£450,920), breaking their own record.

Judy Garland wearing the ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz

That pair were previously owned by a Tennessee woman named Roberta Bauman who won them when she came second in a contest.

No one knows for sure how many pairs of the famous shoes were made for the production.

It’s thought there were at least six or seven pairs, but not all of them can be accounted for.

They were worn by actress Judy Garland (10 June 1922 – 22 June 1969), who was 16 at the time.

She starred as farm girl Dorothy Gale, who is swept away from Kansas to the magical Land of Oz, where her house lands on and kills the Wicked Witch of the East.

When the Wicked Witch of the West turns up to take the shoes, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, magically transfers them to Dorothy’s feet.

The green witch plans to kill Dorothy to take the shoes back, and eventually, Dorothy uses them to get back to Kansas by clicking her heels together and saying “There’s no place like home”.

Playing such a central role in the iconic movie, it’s no wonder the shoes became so famous and ended up having the hefty price tag attached to them.

The shoes were actually silver in the original 1900 novel, but they were changed to red by filmmakers who wanted to take advantage of the new Technicolor film process they were using.

Costume designer Gilbert Adrian is credited with creating the ruby slippers.

A pair of the ruby slippers belonging to the Smithsonian

They were made from white silk pumps that were dyed red before being overlayed with burgundy sequins.

Red leather bows were the final touch.

Another pair of the shoes is on display in the Entertainment Nation at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Ryan Lintelman, Entertainment Curator of Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, told us: “Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz are perhaps the most iconic costume pieces in American movie history. They represent not only the glamour of Hollywood but also Dorothy’s journey, which has continued to resonate with the generations of Americans who have loved this film. 

“The ruby slippers at the National Museum of American History are among the Smithsonian’s best-loved and most-visited objects.”

Ruby slippers on display at Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

If anyone out there is holding on to another pair of the ruby slippers, they could be sitting on a small fortune.

The record-breaking shoes aren’t the most expensive The Wizard of Oz memorabilia though – that title belongs to a cowardly lion costume that sold for $3,077,000 (£2,365,973), including buyer's premium, at Bonhams in New York City, USA, in 2014. 

The suit, made from real lion fur, was one of only two made for the movie.

If you love watching records being broken you should check out our Records Weekly series on YouTube...

Want more? Follow us on Google News and across our social media channels to stay up-to-date with all things Guinness World Records! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, ThreadsTikTok, LinkedIn, and Snapchat Discover.

Don't forget to check out our videos on YouTube and become part of our group chat by following the Guinness World Records WhatsApp channel.

Still not had enough? Click here to buy our latest book, filled to the brim with stories about our amazing record breakers.