For those interested, I would like to begin reviewing the histories of the various pairs of authentic ruby slippers known to exist today. There are five pairs that have publicly surfaced which are known to have been used in the production of the film, the first of which I will review here. As noted elsewhere, large tracts of the following is indebted to Rhys Thomas, and his book The Ruby Slippers of Oz.

Arabian test pair (Image: Life Magazine)

Arabian test pair on Garland's right foot. (Image: Warner Brothers / Time Warner)

The first of the authentic pairs of ruby slippers are those known today as the “Arabian test pair.” Designed by Gilbert Adrian, like the other pairs of slippers, after designing the shoes that would ultimately become the ruby slippers, they appear “only in test shots” on the feet of Judy Garland, “photographed in October 1938,” but were not used in the film (Thomas, 224). Photos of the shoes suggest that they, like the other pairs, are covered with sequins, along with an elaborate design of round and heart shaped beads.

They, like several other pairs, according to Thomas, were found by costumer Kent Warner in February or March 1970 while setting up for the massive auction of MGM’s costumes and props. Today the shoes “are owned by Debbie Reynolds, who purchased them from […] Warner [in 1970] for, reportedly $300” (Thomas, 224).

For a time in the 1990′s these shoes appeared at Reynolds’s Hollywood memorabilia museum in Las Vegas. As recently as 2010, there were intentions of including the shoes in another Hollywood museum, to be founded near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Reynolds herself has claimed Judy Garland was partial to the Arabian pair, saying, in the A&E special on the shoes, “I know Judy wore them, and I know she liked them best of all. She [Garland] said, ‘I want the pair with the pointy toe.” Ultimately, the shoes were deemed too ornate, clashing with Dorothy’s farm girl image, so the simpler French heeled schoolgirl Innes pumps were used instead (“Treasure”).

The shoes as they appeared in the Profiles in History catalogue.

Reynolds ultimately sold the shoes, along with many pieces from her vast memorabilia collection (including the dress worn by Judy Garland in wardrobe test photo above), through auction house Profiles in History, in an effort to pay back debts, on 19 June 2011 in Beverly Hills. The shoes ultimately sold for a high bid of $510,000.00, with a buyer’s premium, and taxes, of $117,300.00, for an ultimate price of $627,300.00.

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