Click your heels three times…The Ruby Slippers

Each pair of ruby slippers is estimated at a value of $1.5 million, making them the most expensive Hollywood memorabilia known. They have been dubbed by some as “The Holy Grail” of all Hollywood nostalgia.  Despite their incredible fame, the slippers have an interesting history that you may not know about. Read on to learn more about these historic shoes!


Did you know that the Ruby Slippers were almost silver? Dorothy’s slippers in the book are actually silver, and they were silver on the set as well until MGM Chief Louis B. Mayer realized that the technicolor production would benefit from the slippers being a beautiful ruby color.

Supposedly there are seven pairs of ruby slippers; however there are five known pairs and owners. Sadly, one pair was stolen while on loan, so the actual locations of only four pairs are known.

  • Smithsonian: The ruby slippers are displayed in the National Museum of American History, in an exhibition called Icons of American Culture. They are one of the most asked about artifacts at the Smithsonian. Obtained by an anonymous buyer at an MGM auction in 1970 for $15,000, they have been on display at the Smithsonian since 1979.
  • David Elkouby: Purchased at auction on May 24, 2000 for $600,000.00. With commission the total price tag was $666,000. This is the most recently purchased pair.
  • Philip Samuels: Originally found at an MGM yard sale or auction, the shoes were auctioned in October of 1981 for $12,000 to an unknown buyer. Samuels purchased them on Aug. 9, 1988 in a privately arranged auction for $165,000.
  • Debbie Reynolds: Actually a screen test pair of slippers known as the Arabian test slippers. They were never actually in the movie as they were thought to be too exotic looking. MGM decided to go with a much simpler ‘school girl pump’ style shoe. Reynolds occasionally loaned the shoes out for display prior to her death.
  • Michael Shaw/Stolen: Purchased for a mere $25 in 1970, Shaw controlled this pair for over 35 years. However, while on display at the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn. the ruby slippers were stolen on Aug. 27, 2005 – they are still missing.

The House of Winston made a pair of real ruby slippers to celebrate the film’s 50th anniversary in 1989 that are valued at $3 million. To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros. enlisted Swarovski crystal and top designers such as Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, and Betsey Johnson to create new ruby slippers that would answer the question, “If Dorothy were living in the 21st Century, what would she wear?” The complete collection toured through 2009.