1939 The Wizard of Oz jumbo window card $4,780
Judy Garland Stars in The Wizard of Oz
Based on the book by L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz was written for the screen by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf. Directing the action was Victor Fleming, with uncredited assistance from Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor and Richard Thorpe.
Heading the cast were Judy Garland (Dorothy Gale), Frank Morgan (Professor Marvel/The Wizard of Oz), Ray Bolger (Hunk/The Scarecrow), Bert Lahr (Zeke/The Cowardly Lion), Jack Haley (Hickory/The Tin Man), Billie Burke (Glinda), Margaret Hamilton (Elmira Gulch/The Wicked Witch of the East and West), Charlie Grapewin (Uncle Henry) and Clara Blandick (Auntie Em).
The Wizard of Oz Premieres in 1939
MGM’s The Wizard of Oz premiered in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, on August 12, 1939. The movie later made its New York City debut at the Capitol Theater on August 17, 1939, where it garnered a big thumbs-up review by Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times.
The Wizard of Oz captured six Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Special Effects, Best Original Music Score (won), Best Original Song (“Over the Rainbow,” won), Best Color Cinematography, Best Art Direction.
Original The Wizard of Oz Movie Posters, Lobby Cards
Because of its vaunted status, original The Wizard of Oz posters and lobby cards command top dollar today. An original 1939 one sheet movie poster (27×41-inches) can easily sell in the $35,000-45,000 range in nice condition.
Also available is the coveted 1939 insert poster (14×36-inches) which is valued at $30,000-40,000 in top condition. For those who want to save some money, the 1939 half sheet poster (22×28-inches) can be purchased for about half that at $15,000-20,000.
The Wizard of Oz produced a handsome lobby card set of eight in 1939. So named because they were displayed in movie theater lobbies, these colorful 11×14-inch cards are always in demand and are usually sold individually. Recent auction results include the following scenes: Dorothy wipes away a tear from The Cowardly Lion ($2,270.50), the Wizard departs for Kansas in a hot air balloon ($2,031.50), Dorothy and pals enter the Emerald City ($1,314.50) and the highly sought-after title card ($10,755).
1939 The Wizard of Oz lobby card $2,270.50
The Wizard of Oz Pressbook, Movie Herald
Discerning Oz collectors look for the unusual. One such item is the interesting The Wizard of Oz campaign book or pressbook, which contains the movie’s entire promotional campaign. Featured are sample magazine ads, movie posters and lobby cards. MGM spent $250,000 to promote The Wizard of Oz, and the studio’s pressbook is certainly worthy of that expenditure. One example in very good condition sold at auction for $3,107.
Another unusual collectible is The Wizard of Oz movie herald. Comprised of four pages, this rarity features the big headlines “The Mighty Miracle Show That Is The Talk Of America!” and “At Last It’s Here Biggest Sensation Since ‘Snow White’!” adorning the cover. One example in near mint condition sold in 2006 for $956 – considered a bargain by many Oz collectors.
1939 The Wizard of Oz Pressbook $3,107
The Wizard of Oz Reissued Movie Material
The Wizard of Oz was subsequently re-released in the years 1949, 1951, 1955, 1964, 1972, 1989 and on, thus generating additional movie posters and other memorabilia. Reissued material from The Wizard of Oz’s first re-release can still be pricey, with a 1949 window card (14×22-inches) currently being offered for sale at $3,595. Similarly, a complete set of eight 1949 Oz lobby cards are available from the same dealer for $15,995.
Other reissued Oz movie material along with their auction results include the following: 1949 insert poster ($3,107), 1949 title lobby card ($7,170), 1955 insert poster ($597.50), 1960s Australian daybill poster ($167.30), 1972 one sheet poster ($95.60) and 1998 press kit ($65.73).
1955 The Wizard of Oz insert poster $597.50
The Wizard of Oz Props and Costumes
Original props and costumes from 1939’s The Wizard of Oz are the holy grail in the field. One of the most valuable Oz artifacts ever to come up for auction was Bert Lahr’s The Cowardly Lion outfit, which sold for $805,000 at California-based Profiles in History.
Other auction results for Oz props and costumes include a “Winkie” guard costume ($115,000), Judy Garland’s blue and white gingham dress ($252,000), the Munchkin coroner’s hat ($34,000) and Garland’s ruby red slippers, one of four pairs known to exist ($666,000).
In August 2008, two “Winkie” guard pikes surfaced at a PBS Antiques Roadshow in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The prop weapons had been purchased by the owner for $595 from a California auction company in 1984. Collectibles expert Kathleen Guzman appraised the pikes at $15,000 each.
The Wizard of Oz Miscellaneous Movie Memorabilia
Check out these auction results for other 1939 The Wizard of Oz movie memorabilia courtesy Heritage Auction Galleries, Dallas, Texas:
- Sheet music, “Over the Rainbow,” Leo Feist Inc. 1939 ($32)
- Original 8×10 b/w publicity still, Judy Garland and Ray Bolger ($448.13)
- Three illustrated sheets of MGM stationery promoting The Wizard of Oz ($418.25)
- Ten original 1939 8×10 b/w publicity stills ($2,151)
- Pink autograph album page inscribed and signed by Clara “Auntie Em” Blandick ($717)
- Five 1939 deluxe b/w stills ($956)
- Cast photo signed by Ray Bolger ($107.55)
- 1939 jumbo window card ($4,780)
- Green autograph album page signed by Frank Morgan with a Tom Mix signature on the reverse ($262.90)
- Judy Garland and Toto contact proof 8×10 b/w glossy still from famed Hollywood photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull ($717)
- British color still ($69)
1939 The Wizard of Oz sheet music $32
We’re off to see the wizard! And for serious collectors, bring your wallet…