One of five known pairs of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939) — stolen in 2005 from a Minnesota Judy Garland museum — have finally been recovered by the FBI.
Owner Michael Shaw had possession of the slippers for over 30 years at the time of their theft.
Recently, a seller attempted to move them, sending pictures of the slippers to a memorabilia expert, who along with the help of the FBI was eventualy able to ID the slippers as the same ones missing since 2005.
Now, the items (owned by their insurer) can potentially be bought back by Shaw, who had been accused of faking their disappearance in the first place. More NYT back story:
The slippers had a complicated history even before the theft. They belonged to collector Michael Shaw, who bought them for $2,000 in 1970 from Kent Warner, a costumer who found them on an MGM lot at the time. Mr. Shaw’s collection also included Dorothy’s dress, the witch’s hat, and a Munchkin outfit. For years, Mr. Shaw lent the shoes to museums for several thousand dollars, often donating the proceeds to children’s charities.
The Judy Garland Museum displayed the shoes in 2005 during an annual festival celebrating the actress, who was born in Grand Rapids. The left and right shoes are slightly different sizes and appear to be the mates of another mixed pair housed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. The Smithsonian took its shoes off public display in 2017 and launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore them. The condition of the purloined pair could not be immediately learned.
Glad to hear they've been found — and very curious to hear of any suspects!
Check out an 11-minute presser on the recovery of the slippers conducted by the police and the FBI:
Check out a recent documentary on the topic of the missing slippers, made before they were found: