Then, more than 30 years after The Wizard of Oz’s premiere, Kent Warner, a costume worker for MGM, was tasked with picking out a single pair of slippers to be sold off at auction. Apparently, the others were to be destroyed as part of a clean-up effort at the company’s lot in Culver City; Warner did not follow his instructions, however, and he chose instead to pilfer the remaining shoes.
Over the years, Warner’s collection dwindled as he sold off the slippers in a series of clandestine auctions. And, eventually, one pair made it into the hands of private collector Michael Shaw. Shaw elected not to keep the famous shoes hidden away, though. Indeed, in 2015 he agreed to loan them to Grand Rapids, Minnesota’s Judy Garland Museum.