Legal dispute over who owns a dress worn by Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” begins to heat up after a federal judge on Monday ordered a hearing on May 23 as to why he should not block the auction of the dress on May 24, pending on the outcome of a lawsuit over who owns the famous blue gingham dress.
An auction house is currently planned to sell the dress on behalf of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. The blue and white gingham dress is one of only two of what are believed to have been six dresses made for Garland to wear in the classic “Oz” movie. The auction house has estimated that the dress could sell for $ 800,000 to $ 1.2 million, according to CNBC.
Wisconsin resident Barbara Hartke has asked the federal judge to stop the sale after claiming in her original lawsuit that the dress is the legal property of her late uncle, Pastor Gilbert Hartke, who founded the Catholic University drama school. She claims that she is the one who inherits the dress ̵1; not the university – after the Oscar-winning actress Mercedes McCambridge in 1973 donated the dress to her uncle, of whom she is the heir, according to the news report.
Still, the university said Gilbert Hartke’s promise of poverty as a Roman Catholic priest prevented him from accepting gifts as his personal property. “Mrs. Hartke’s property has no property interest in it,” the school said in a statement on May 6.