Rare Items From The Life & Career Of Legend Ray Bolger – The “Scarecrow” In Wizard Of Oz Hits Auction Block For First Time Ever
“IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN”
RARE ITEMS FROM THE LIFE AND CAREER OF LEGENDARY ACTOR RAY BOLGER, THE “SCARECROW” IN “THE WIZARD OF OZ” TO BE OFFERED AT AUCTION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY
Lion Heart Autographs Fall 2023 Auction - November 1, 2023
Rare MGM Production Score of Famous Song Among the Highlights
Lion Heart Autographs, among the world’s most respected and leading dealers in historical autographs and manuscripts has announced an extraordinary opportunity to own items from one of the most famous movies in Hollywood history – MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. So extraordinary are the items being offered – including two original studio printed music scores used in the film’s production – that one could find one’s self magically transported back to the “Yellow Brick Road,” holding the memorable lyrics and music of Ray Bolger’s personally-owned copies of “If I Only Had a Brain,” (Estimate: $7,000-$8,000) and “Over the Rainbow,” (Estimate: $12,000 - $15,000) often cited as the “Number One Song of the 20th Century.” Ray Bolger’s portrayal of the “Scarecrow” in The Wizard of Oz remains one of the most memorable film characters of all time. Lion Heart Autographs will host its Fall 2023 Auction with online bidding beginning on October 4, 2023.
Millions of people instantly recognize the melody of these famous songs, “Over the Rainbow” and “If I Only Had a Brain,” and The Wizard of Oz, a timeless classic for generations, has delighted audiences worldwide.
The public’s sentimental attachment to Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion has never vanished from the American psyche. The movie is a cinematic touchstone of classic storytelling.
Now, Lion Heart Autographs will offer a collection of extraordinary, never previously offered Ray Bolger items from the collection of the performer’s niece. Making the printed musical scores especially valuable is the fact that in 1969, MGM’s enormous music library was dumped and used as landfill in LA’s Sepulveda Pass, making the opportunity to find original material from the “The Wizard of Oz” nearly impossible. Similar items to the scores being offered at auction can only be found in a handful of libraries and institutions, notably the US Library of Congress (which does not own copies of these versions of the songs), Yale, and the Warner Bros. Corporate Archives. Copies in private collections are unknown.
In addition to the two printed musical scores are a pair of Ray Bolger’s personally used blue tap shoes (Estimate: $500 - $1000); a 14K white gold and diamond Gruen wristwatch inscribed to Ray Bolger on the back of the watch case from the Las Vegas Sahara Hotel on its opening day in 1952 when Bolger headlined the opening act (Estimate: $3,000 - $4,000) and two neckties worn by the fashion-conscious Bolger (Estimate: $250 - $350).
“To our knowledge, and after consulting libraries, scholars and dealers, we have not discovered any printed musical scores in private collections like these that were created during the film’s production. The fact that the scores and personally worn items were once owned by Ray Bolger makes them even more compelling. After all, Bolger starred in one of the world’s most memorable motion pictures whose story and music have had an enormous cultural influence – from Judy Garland’s innumerable performances of “Over the Rainbow” and Elton John’s Pop hit “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” to the Broadway shows “The Wiz” and “Wicked.” This is, quite literally, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire objects that magically resonate with the spirit of Hollywood’s “Golden Age.” We are honored to have been selected to represent Ray Bolger’s niece in the auction of these precious relics from the past.” – David Lowenherz, Founder & Owner, Lion Heart Autographs.
Ray Bolger, a vaudevillian, actor and comedian, sang and danced his way into the hearts of film lovers with his memorable performance of the song “If I Only Had a Brain” in The Wizard of Oz. Nothing else influenced his reputation as much as his role as the “Scarecrow,” and his remarkable ability to dance and create comedic gestures were talents he became recognized for. Bolger went on to star in other films including Disney’s “Babes in Toyland,” as well as “The Great Ziegfeld,” and enjoyed a successful career on Broadway. However, he is best remembered as the Scarecrow who captured the hearts of everyone who ever fell in love with The Wizard of Oz.
Lion Heart Autograph’s Fall 2023 auction is packed with other unusual manuscripts and autographs including a three-language ship’s paper with a near perfect signature of George Washington (Estimate: $12,000-$15,000); a document signed by Castro following his arrest and imprisonment after leading the Cuban Revolution of 1953 (Estimate: $11,000 - $12,000) ; a series of letters from the inventor of the “Pap” smear (Estimate: $10,000 - $11,000); an oversize architectural rendering signed by Frank Lloyd Wright (Estimate: $4,800 - $5,000); a Maria von Trapp letter to her Jewish publicist expressing her disdain towards a “conspicuous and vulgar” Jewish girl at her summer camp in Stowe, VT (Estimate: $350-$400); excerpts of America’s most famous songs and hymns including “Home Sweet Home” (Estimate: $5,000 - $6,000) and “God Bless America” (Estimate: $2,000 - $2,500) and a handwritten letter signed “Father” from Charles Lindbergh to his son about his Swiss boarding school’s “girl supply,” (Estimate: $1,100 - $1,300), plus much more.
To view the online auction catalogue go here.
Bidders may bid online, by phone or by leaving a written bid with Lion Heart Autographs.
ABOUT LION HEART AUTOGRAPHS
Lion Heart Autographs is among the world’s most widely-recognized and respected dealers of historical autographs and manuscripts in the areas of Art, History, Literature, Music and Science. Clients of Lion Heart Autographs range from Harvard, Yale and the U.S. Library of Congress to collectors and corporations from around the world. No other experience allows for a deeper understanding of history than an examination of the documents that helped shape it, and a handwritten manuscript is the closest one can be to the moment history was made. Lion Heart Autographs was founded by the internationally recognized autograph expert, David Lowenherz, in 1977. He is the co-founder and first president of the Professional Autograph Dealer’s Association (PADA), has published 44 catalogues, and written appraisals for Carnegie Hall, The New York Times and the estates of many famous individuals including Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Walter Cronkite and Martha Graham. Lowenherz has completed hundreds of authentications and worked closely with the FBI on numerous forgery and theft cases. The 2018 feature film starring Melissa McCarthy entitled “Can You Ever Forgive Me” is based on the career of forger and thief Lee Israel. David was the first to notify the FBI of his suspicions and Israel and her accomplice were captured after David led a sting operation recorded in his office. Lowenherz is also the author of several books including “The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time” and “The 50 Greatest Letters from America’s Wars.” Lion Heart Autographs is based in New York.