Proof that the most amazing items are marketed through eBay, the orginal
costume for the Cowardly Lion in MGM's Wizard of Oz was sold on an eBay
auction for $700K. Here's the text of the listing:
The Original Cowardly Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in The Wizard of Oz.
(MGM, 1939) After an absence of nearly 60 years, the Cowardly Lion
triumphantly returns to center stage! Yes, this is the ACTUAL costume worn
by Lahr in the revolutionary 1939 fantasy classic, The Wizard of Oz. This film
was notable not only for its amazing story, which virtually transported the
audience from their chairs to the wonderful Land of Oz - but did so by using
the most exciting and imaginative sets AND breathtaking costumes that
moviegoers had ever seen! The art of filmmaking was forever changed.
The history of the Cowardly Lion costume since the completion of filming is
interesting, if not miraculous. Presumed lost after the last frame was shot, it
was literally discovered at the 11th hour before the 1970 MGM/David Weisz
Auction, the most famous and legendary sale in the history of Hollywood
memorabilia. The costume had been bagged and tucked away in Mrs. Culvers
barn in Culver City, California, and was stumbled upon by some Wiesz staff
members whod been looking through the barn for a few last items. The
costume had literally been forgotten for the previous 39 years!
Understanding the magnitude of this discovery, Weisz had an addendum to the
auction catalog printed that very afternoon, which was passed out to the bidders
who turned out on auction day. Thus, there were no advance announcements or
publicity for the costume.
A California chiropractor who happened to be at the auction bid on and won
this magnificent costume for the bargain price of $2400. Without the cash on
hand to pay for it in full, he put down a $1000 cash deposit to hold his purchase,
and returned approximately one week later to pay the balance and take
possession of his prize. A perfect case of being in the right place at the right
Since 1970, the costume has changed hands only once - purchased by the
current owner, world-renowned artist Bill Mack, in 1985. However, the costume
sat quietly until 1996, when Mack set about having it preserved and displayed
in all its original glory. As the costume is constructed of real lion pelts, some
minor deterioration had occurred over its 50-year life span. Mack took the
costume to a well-known Midwest taxidermist who painstakingly restored the
costume, added a lining, and mounted the costume on a flexible steel armature.
Mack then skillfully recreated the headpiece with a lifelike sculpture of Lahr
in character in all its glory
Thus, the costume has arisen from the clutches of time, so to speak, to
re-emerge as a fantastic and gorgeous relic from the past - a touchstone to one
of the greatest films in the history of the art.
This beautiful costume is composed of real lion pelts, which have been sewn
together to form the complete outfit. The costume is positioned in the
memorable "Put em up, put em up" pose from the film, and is mounted on a
wood pedestal with a Yellow Brick Road diorama and poppyfield border.
Designed to accommodate interchangeable tails, the costume comes with the
one supported by wire apparatus. Complete documentation accompanies this
piece, including the David Weisz Co./MGM auction catalog and addenda
(showing the costume as lot #950A); the original auction tag with cash receipt
for the first $1000 payment (made the day of the auction); 1970 bidders paddle;
and detailed ledger pages of the items in which the buyer was interested, at the
head of which is noted the Cowardly Lions costume.
One of the most coveted pieces of Hollywood history extant, it stands alone as
the sole Wizard of Oz costume that remains available to collectors in the public
domain: the Tin Man was largely destroyed (only pieces remain), and the
"Scarecrow" is currently housed in the Smithsonian. Considered the "Holy
Grail" of all Hollywood memorabilia, this costume is worthy of inclusion in the
very finest collections of film artifacts!
Judy Garlands blue and white gingham pinafore, of which at least ten were
made for the film, and at least six survive in private hands, sold at auction in
England in 2005 for $285,000.00, and another sold at auction in England in 1999
WIZARD OF OZ COSTUMES
Wicked Witch of the West Hat from Wizard of Oz
Sold for $200,000
|Copyright Â© 2008 HollywoodGoldenGuy.com
No copyright is claimed on non-original or licensed material
The purpose and use of this sight is for use of informational data as reference material. This site is not for profit. This sight is in no way
sanctioned, operateed, endorsed, or affilated with the MGM Inc, Metro Goldwyn Mayer Inc. This sight is in no way is intended to be looked at or
represent an official site in any manner.