The FBI has recovered a pair of ruby slippers used in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’, 13 years after they were stolen from a Minnesota museum.
The iconic shoes worn by Judy Garland were recovered as part of sting operation, after a man approached the shoes’ insurers and said he could help get them back. The slippers had been insured for $1m (£780,000) and the operation to recover them took a year.
The FBI announced the discovery at a special press conference, where the slippers were unveiled.
Nobody has been arrested or charged in connection with the case but investigations are continuing and officials urged anyone with information to come forward.
The slippers had been on loan to the Garland museum from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw when they were taken in August 2005.
Garland wore three other pairs when she starred as Dorothy in the 1939 film and they are currently held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian Museum of American History and a private collector.
The stolen slippers’ authenticity was verified by comparing them with the pair at the Smithsonian in Washington.
Rhys Thomas, author of The Ruby Slippers Of Oz, called the slippers “the Holy Grail of Hollywood memorabilia”.
“They are maybe the most iconic cinematic prop or costume in movie history, and in fact, in cultural history,” he said.“They are a cultural icon.”
Thomas estimated that this particular pair could be worth between $2m and $7m. He said it is not clear in which scenes they were used, but he was “99 percent” sure that they appeared in the film.
This particular pair went missing when filming on the movie completed and went unseen for 30 years, until Shaw bought them for someone who was hoping to sell them to the late actress Debbie Reynolds, a keen collector of Hollywood memorabilia.
He decided to keep them for his own private collection, but often loaned them to museums for exhibits.