Decide blocks $1.2 million ‘Wizard of Oz’ costume sale amid possession dispute

(CNN) — A decide has blocked the sale of a pinafore costume worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” — simply someday earlier than it was anticipated to fetch as much as $1.2 million at public sale.

Missing for many years however rediscovered in shoebox final yr, the costume was withdrawn from a film memorabilia sale in New York on Tuesday as a consequence of an ongoing possession dispute.

The garment is one among a number of blue gingham clothes worn by Garland’s character Dorothy within the basic 1939 film. According to courtroom paperwork, actor Mercedes McCambridge gifted it to Reverend Gilbert Hartke, founding father of The Catholic University of America’s Department of Speech and Drama, within the early Nineteen Seventies.

Considered misplaced after the priest’s loss of life in 1986, the costume was present in a shoebox by a college lecturer final summer season. The college subsequently supplied if on the market by way of public sale home Bonhams, which had estimated bids between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

But the reverend’s niece, Barbara Hartke, has since claimed that the costume was a part of her uncle’s property, to which she is the rightful inheritor. In a grievance filed to a New York courtroom earlier this month, she argued that McCambridge had given the costume to her uncle to thank him for “helping her battle alcohol and substance abuse,” and that there was no proof exhibiting he had donated it to the college.

The Catholic University in the meantime claims that McCambridge had anticipated her present to profit its college students. In courtroom filings, the school additionally argued that, in changing into a priest of the Roman Catholic Church’s Dominican Order, the reverend had vowed by no means to own “temporal goods” — and thus the garment couldn’t be thought of a part of his property.

Hartke’s legal professional, Anthony Scordo, stated by way of electronic mail that the college is “not clear exactly what the vow consisted of” and that the late priest “always accepted and (had) personal gifts.”

On Monday, Manhattan district decide Paul Gardephe granted an injunction halting the sale.

In an announcement supplied to CNN, the college careworn that the ruling was “preliminary” and that there was “overwhelming evidence” contradicting Hartke’s possession declare.

“Catholic University continues to be committed to its plan to use proceeds from a sale of the dress to endow a faculty position in the Rome School of Music, Drama and Art, which it believes is in line with Mercedes McCambridge’s original intent and Father Gilbert Hartke’s desire to support and grow the University’s drama program,” the assertion learn.

According to the public sale catalog, the merchandise seems in scenes set within the Wicked Witch of the West’s fortress. It was supplied full with the white shirt Garland wore beneath. Another of the gingham clothes worn by Garland within the film bought for $1.5 million in 2015.

Bonhams declined CNN’s request for remark.

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