The Bonhams TCM auction held in New York on November 24 set a record for the Cowardly Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in The  Wizard of Oz, selling for $3, 077,000 including the buyer’s premium. It had belonged previously belonged to James Comisar, who had owned it for years and had it restored. He is the founder of the Television Museum in Los Angeles and sold it to raise funds to develop the museum. Another high spot at the auction was the piano played by Dooley Wilson in Casablanca, which also sold for $3,413,000. This is the second year of collaboration between TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and Bonhams. This year’s theme was There’s No Place Like Hollywood, celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. The auction also featured a Dorothy pinafore, an early test model, that sold for $245,000 including premium. A Munchkin’s soldier’s jacket also sold for $23,700, among other Oz items. TCM Cowardly Lion The Cowardly Lion’s mane has been duplicated as it was not part of the costume when it was sold at the MGM auction in 1970. Dorothy’s pinafore, a test version designed by Adrian, like all the others, was not the final one used in the film.  This same Cowardly Lion suit failed to sell at the Profiles in History auction of December 15-16, 2011. Profiles in History subsequently consigned it to eBay where it sold for $805,000.TCM auction Dorothy

TCM Auction 2014


For further information on the sales history of several of the Wizard of Oz costumes, see my blog post:


  1. As I’m sure you recall, Christian, the “Casablanca” piano was on display along with other “Oz” items at Club TCM during TCMFF 2014 last April. It was nicely presented and the display really caught my fancy, so I took several pix of it. Am very glad I did now since I doubt I’ll ever see that $3,413,000 piano in person again.

    1. Yes, Lady Eve, I remember. You’re right about never seeing it again. Although its surprising how some things come back to auction on a cyclical basis – almost always with a much higher price when it comes to Hollywood collectibles. This unlike many categories in the Antique Roadshow “then and now” segments. The most famous pair of the Ruby Slippers have come up at auction several times. But now they will be locked away (figuratively speaking) at the Academy’s new museum. There’s a book I read many years ago, “The Strange Life of Objects” by Maurice Rheims that is a fascinating look at the interesting road that art and antiques take through the hands of various owners. Thanks for your recollection of the Casablanca piano.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *