The “ruby slippers” famously worn by Judy Garland in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz consistently rank among the most iconic and valuable movie props in the history of film as a medium. There exist only four original pairs of ruby slippers in the world—which is why it was pretty big news when one of the four pairs was stolen from a museum display case in Minnesota, 13 years ago. However, the FBI has just made a shocking announcement: That long-missing pair of ruby slippers has officially been found.
The slippers were stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, the actress’s hometown, way back in August of 2005. The perpetrator had broken into the museum through a window in the middle of the night—something that reportedly triggered an alarm, but failed to alert police. No authorities showed up to prevent the thief from breaking into the display case that contained the ruby slippers. Speaking to the media at the time, the museum’s co-founder was quoted saying “the biggest thing that ever happened to our museum was getting the slippers stolen. We were literally crying.”
It’s no surprise that the slippers presented a tempting target. They’ve been insured for around $1 million, but the true value of the slippers at auction has only continued to rise over the year. It’s been estimated that they could potentially sell for $5 million in an open auction setting, which is of course the rub in stealing something so iconic and easily identifiable—you can’t exactly bring it to a public auction to sell.
The full story has yet to emerge from the FBI, who are hosting a news conference on the discovery on Tuesday. We’ll just have to wait a bit longer to see where the slippers had been kept all of these years, who might have stolen them, and whether they sustained any damage during the heist. We’ll update this story as additional information comes to light.