This signed photo of a dreamy Judy Garland as Dorothy, seemingly unconcerned about flying monkeys, is the first example to surface at auction for nearly two decades.

AMHERST, N.H.-Kansas, ruby slippers, and a little dog, too: such is the stuff of a million sepia-and-Technicolor dreams inspired by The Wizard of Oz, one of the most beloved films in history. One of the most extraordinary treasures of Oziana to appear in recent memory is among more than 1,600 items to be offered in R&R Enterprises' December auction, which begins on November 24.

Headlining the entertainment category is an extremely rare signed 1939 MGM photo of Garland in character as Dorothy Gale, sporting her distinctive white blouse and gingham pinafore. While signed cast images represent some of the most coveted prizes for collector-devotees of The Wizard of Oz, examples featuring Garland as Dorothy represent one of the most notorious "stoppers" in the entire field of vintage Hollywood collecting.

Surprisingly, given the evergreen popularity of the film, Garland signed precious few photos from her breakout role, perhaps anxious to cultivate an image as an adult, "serious" actress. As a consequence, the rarity of signed photos of Garland as Dorothy -- approaching singularity -- easily surpasses that of such elusive signers as Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe. As no other specimen has surfaced at auction for nearly two decades, the photo is expected to attract worldwide interest.


Wave physics must have crossed Albert Einstein's mind as he penned these mathematical equations during his ocean voyage to the U.S.

Also to be featured in the auction is a selection of outstanding historical letters and documents. Of special interest is an important handwritten 1825 letter from the Marquis de Lafayette, previously in the Forbes Collection, thanking the American Congress for a generous stipend and land grant given in recognition of Lafayette's invaluable service during the Revolutionary War. In offering effusive thanks, Lafayette refers to himself as "an old American soldier and adopted son of the United States, two titles dearer to my heart than all the treasures in the world." Despite his gratitude, Lafayette never set foot on the land awarded to him, located near present-day Tallahassee, Florida.

Other historical highlights include a letter from sultry spy Mata Hari mentioning renowned painter-designer Léon Bakst; a page of mathematical calculations handwritten by Albert Einstein during his ocean passage to the United States; a rare document signed by legendary gangster George "Bugsy" Moran on the day he went to trial for forgery; and a 1961 letter from Lee Harvey Oswald to his mother, later used as an official exhibit during the Warren Commission investigation.

Art, literature, music, and entertainment standouts include a letter from Charles Dickens sending his final Christmas book; a letter from Camille Pissarro related to the Dreyfus Affair; an early letter from J. R. R. Tolkien to the concerned parent of one of his students; an original drawing for an unrealized residential project by Frank Lloyd Wright; a program from the world premiere of Help! inscribed by all four Beatles to one of their co-stars; and a copy of Gone with the Wind signed by seven cast members, including Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.

R&R Enterprises' December auction ends on December 10. Bids are accepted online or via telephone, fax, or e-mail. For information, visit the R&R web site at www.rrauction.com or contact Elizebeth Otto at [email protected].