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The Wizard of Oz dress found in 2021 and Fr Gilbert Hartke with the dress in an undated photo (CNS/Tyler Orsburn and Catholic University of America)

The Catholic University of America is set to auction the legendary blue gingham checkered dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, after a court ruling greenlit the auction. Source: OSV News.

The auction will raise funds for university’s school of music, drama and art.

The dress, a piece of Hollywood history, was donated to the university by actress Mercedes McCambridge, a former artist-in-residence at the university in 1973. The announcement of the partnership with international auctioneer Bonhams to display and auction the dress was made in April 2022.

However, the auction faced a legal hurdle due to a lawsuit filed by Barbara Ann Hartke, niece of Fr Gilbert Hartke, who claimed ownership of the dress. This claim was recently dismissed by a federal judge in New York, citing Fr Hartke’s vow of poverty as a Dominican priest and Barbara Hartke’s lack of standing to bring a claim on behalf of the settled estate of Fr Hartke.

The dress is notably rare, being one of only two existing dresses with the original white blouse and one of only four blue and white pinafore dresses known to exist. It has been matched to a specific scene in the movie when Dorothy faces the Wicked Witch of the West in her castle, adding to its value.

Bonhams, the international auctioneer handling the sale, estimates the value of the dress at $US800,000 to $1.2 million ($A1.2-1.8 million). A different Dorothy dress, complete with blouse, sold for $US1.5 million ($A2.2 million) in 2015.


Famous ‘Wizard of Oz’ dress to be auctioned for Catholic University (OSV News)