Thursday, June 25, 2009

Museum Pt. 2: Collecting Ruby Slippers

A pair of screen worn ruby slippers is a little out of the average collector’s price range. The last pair auctioned in 2000 sold for $666,000 and surely they’ve appreciated to the million mark since then.

Although, they were never handled by Judy Garland or even appeared in the 1939 film, there exists a more valuable pair. Celebrated jeweler to the stars Harry Winston crafted one of kind ruby slippers to commemorate the Wizard of Oz’s golden anniversary. The size 4 Lucite shoes were designed by Ronald Winston and it took artisan Javiar Barerra two months to set 4600 genuine rubies and 50 carats of diamonds. They are valued over $3 million making them the most expensive shoes in the world. But their worth is not to be judged solely by dollars and cents. The Harry Winston ruby slippers have taken part of tours benefiting children’s charities such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Starlight Foundation, and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

Western Costume produced fully licensed reproductions molded from Judy Garland’s original last. A limited edition of 500 pairs was planned, but production was reportedly stalled after less than 20 pairs were sold. However, Western Costume still has shoes available for a cool $5000.

For the Dorothy’s that love to accessorize, Kathrine Baumann fashioned a Swarovski crystal minaudiere which sold for $2562.00. Katherine Baumann loaned one for display in the To Own the Wizard: Oz Artifacts section of an exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz housed at the Library of Congress.

“What would Dorothy wear now?” was the question posed by Saks Fifth Avenue Fashion Director Michael Fink. Saks, partnered with Warner Brothers and Swarovski, commissioned 19 footwear design wizards to create stylish ruby slippers befitting a contemporary Dorothy. Swarovski donated the crystals and only one simple direction was given by the Saks fashion director. “Go wild. Have fun with it!” The ravishing Ruby Slipper Collection debuted at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York City in September of 2008. The shoes will be auctioned at a gala event in September 2009 at Tavern on the Green with all proceeds going to The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation. Each pair is estimated at $1000 but factor in the Oz theme, designer names, and a worthy charity and the prices realized will probably be much higher.

Several design sketches from the Ruby Slipper Collection are featured on a limited edition postage stamp set

Warner Brothers Consumer Products extended the challenge to create modern representations of the ruby slippers to students of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Hopefuls aspiring to win the coveted spot in the Ruby Slipper Collection as the 20th designer were allotted limited time to submit their sketches. A panel of fashion experts selected Kaddie Lam’s exquisite design to join the respected assemblage of innovators of footwear design and her shoes will be included in the fall auction. Kaddie ingeniously uses the Swarovski crystals, spiraling them around the heel, reminiscent of the tornado that carried Dorothy to Oz. Bidders will now have a wonderful opportunity to catch a budding designer’s break out piece and her shoes undoubtedly will command a handsome price.

Ruby Slipper Collection Winner Kaddie Lam poses with her winning shoe and Tarina Tarantino

Even if Oz hobbyists could afford such decadent additions to our collections, there is precious little to go around. High end collectibles typically are very limited. So we must content ourselves with the next best thing. A pair of salt & pepper shakers. Or glass ornaments. Or picture frames. Or whatever else Oz licensees can produce to sit prettily on our shelves. There is such a variety of ruby slippers items to choose from, one could build an entire collection around the shoes alone.

Warner Brothers recognized the affection Oz fan and the public in general, have for the ruby slippers and produced an abundance of merchandise. Only some of which is shown below.

Leaders in the collectibles industry such as the Bradford Exchange, Kurt Adler, Enesco, Westland, San Francisco Music Box, and Hallmark quickly followed suit.

Due to market over saturation ruby slipper collectible sales have been waning, but with the 70th anniversary celebration in full swing, interest in all things Oz should be on the upswing especially with the forthcoming hand bag collection from Tarina Tarantino. More information coming soon………

Ruby Slipper Collectibles Shown

Warner Brothers Studio Stores
Salt and Pepper Shakers
Fossil Ruby Slipper holder and watch (available at other retail outlets in addition to WBSS)
Mini Sculptures
Radko Ornaments
Draft Stopper

Christmas Stocking
Light Sculpture
Shower Curtain Hooks
Girls’ Shoes

San Francisco Music Box Company
Hallmark (Collector’s Club)
Kurt Adler Polonaise
Kurt Adler Polonaise Ruby Slippers with Emerald City
Kurt Adler Stocking
Hallmark 2009 Limited (Sold only during Hallmark Ornament Premiere July 11 -12 while supplies last)
Hallmark Miniature
Kurt Adler Lights

Bradford Exchange Wizard of Oz Over the Rainbow Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Earrings
Heatherette T-shirt
Vandor Silk Tote
Jerry Leigh T-shirt
Roman Bracelet
Bradford Exchange Wizard of Oz Over the Rainbow Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers Pendant Necklace

Figurals and Sculptures
Dave Grossman Waterglobe – Quickly sold out from retailers after being featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show
San Francisco Music Box Waterglobe
Fitz & Floyd Charming Tails ‘May Your Shoes Bring You Home Again’
Presents Heart Shaped Box – Courtesy Neil Rogness
Department 56 Bejeweled Box
Vandor Bank
Vandor Jeweled Box
San Francisco Music Box musical
Star Jars Cookie Jar
Hamilton Collection Ruby Slippers Sparkle Shoe Figurine

Cake Candle Holders
FAO Schwarz Girls’ Shoes
Tonner Doll Company Shoes
Rubies Deluxe Costume Girls’ Shoes
Quilting Treasures Fabric

Tarina Tarantino
Glittered Leather Wristlet Clutch
Small Glittered Leather Pouch
Small Leather Heart Bag
Limited Editions coming July/August More Info Coming Soon! Courtesy Curtsy Bella