The Cowardly Lion costume from the Wizard Of Oz is heading to the auction block.
According to Variety, Burt Lahr’s costume will go up for auction at Bonham’s in New York on Monday. The Cowardly Lion costume will be part of the “TCM Precents: There’s No Place Like Hollywood” auction, which will also include movie memorabilia like the piano from Casablanca and Marilyn Monroe’s gown from River Of No Return.
“The Cowardly Lion costume was worn by Bert Lahr in a number of iconic scenes, including when he first meets Dorothy and her friends along the Yellow Brick Road; as he sings the songs “If I Only Had the Nerve” and “If I Were King of the Forest”; when he skips down the Yellow Brick Road on the way to Oz; when he helps rescue Dorothy; when the Wicked Witch melts; when the Wizard awards him a medal for “conspicuous acts of bravery”; and when Dorothy clicks her heels together to return to her Kansas farm home.
“For famed MGM costume designer Gilbert Adrian, the only option for creating a realistic lion costume in 1938 was to fashion it out of actual lion hides. He was challenged with locating several that visually matched each other so a few costumes could be made and used interchangeably throughout filming. Adrian soon discovered, however, that every available lion hide had very distinctive colors, hair patterns and scars, so he had no choice but to dress Lahr in a single costume for much of the filming.”
The Cowardly Lion costume going up for auction on Monday was used for the majority of filming but a few other costumes were made for The Wizard Of Oz. According to the Associated Press, one of these secondary costumes recently sold for about $1 million.