The auction of the dress is scheduled to be held on May 24 at the Bonham house in Los Angeles. It is one of the blue and white dresses that Judy Garland used during the filming of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. The piece was found last year inside a shoe box in one of the buildings of the drama department of the Catholic University of Los Angeles, while an employee was sweeping the place.
The dress, yellowed by the passage of time, has a handmade inscription with the name of the actress hidden inside one of the bags in which Garland supposedly kept her handkerchiefs. The dress was donated to Reverend Gilbert Hartke , one of the founders of the university’s drama department in 1972, by actress Mercedes McCambridge , and was lost a year later to remain hidden for five decades, despite various faculty members claiming it. They searched again and again.
Although it was initially said that the dress would become part of the university archive, the decision was later made to put it up for auction. It is estimated that it could sell for between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
THE VOICE OPPOSING THE AUCTION
Barbra Hartke , Reverend Hartke’s niece, is 81 years old and has spoken out against the auction. The woman argues that her uncle received the dress as a gift from the actress and that before auctioning it, it would be necessary to determine who it belongs to. In an interview with the New York Post , the woman commented: “I was surprised that it was found here (at the University) after all this time and that it was quickly taken to the auction house. I just want to know who owns this… I’d like to see the documentation.”
The woman, who claims that the actress, Mercedes McCambridge, had a special affection for her uncle, has filed a lawsuit to try to prevent the auction from taking place.