The bidder said to herself just before her paddle went up: I ain’t scared. And that’s how it came to be that a telephone bidder paid $3.1 million for the costume Bert Lahr wore as the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 MGM classic The Wizard of Oz. Like the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy (Judy Garland), the lion costume was created by famed designer Gilbert Adrian. The original slippers (there were six pairs in all) are on display at the Smithsonian Museum. It’s not known whether the buyer of the Cowardly Lion costume intends to donate it–or wear it around.
The suit was fashioned from real lion skin, according to the auction catalog. For those who are less intrepid than the new owner of Bert Lahr’s suit, there are numerous flying monkey costumes available. And also munchkin costumes. The auction at Bonham’s is called “TCM Presents: There’s No Place Like Hollywood.” Indeed.