Wednesday: The day of the auction!
Oh! It was a long day! Under
ordinary circumstances, to be in New York City - is a dream come true for
me. So much to do, so much to see, but today was different.
I found myself continuously looking at my watch, figuring out how much
time was left before the big event. I'll spare you the gory details,
but suffice it to say I was at Christie's way too early!
I decided it would be a long time before
I'd have the chance to eat, so I found a place called the Silver Star Cafe
near Christie's to have a bite. I ordered while hoping that they
would take their time, it was still too early to go back over. I
sat and drank more Coke and gave in to my temptation for cheesecake.
While I was sitting there a group of people came in and asked for a large
table. I overheard one of them telling the others where they parked,
which was near near Christie's.... Another gentleman joined their
party, which everyone seemed very excited to see - I heard more talk
of the auction. I wondered if they'd be the one's who would bid on
The time was getting closer, so I decided
to just go out and walk around a bit look in shop windows, etc..
About the time I wandered back up to 67th Street, Bill was at the corner
on his way to Christie's to find me. I was so glad to see his friendly
face in this city of seemingly endless strangers!
Bill and I were there when the doors opened
and we got great seats. The first four rows or so on the left side
were reserved, and we took two rows behind them. John and his crew
filled out the rest of our row and the row behind us. We all started
to buzz when someone recognized Rhys Thomas, author of "The Ruby Slippers
of Oz" enter the room. Naturally, I had to go talk to him, but time
was short, as the auction was ready to start which meant a short, "Hi,
nice to meet you" kind of meeting. I am after all, his online Ruby
Slipper Secretary! I still regret not going up and introducing myself
to William Stillman and Jay Scarfone. I've been fans of their work
as far back as I can remember! They sat a few rows in front of me
in James Comisar's reserved seats. Mr Comisar had a gift for each
person in their seat with a little stuffed lion on each gift - I still
wonder what was in the package!
On the left side of the room was a raised
platform area for the news crews to set up, on the far right side of the
room were the tables lined up for the phone-in bidders. In front
was the podium, with two big wide screened TV monitor on either side to
show digital pictures of the items to be sold. The ruby slippers
were in the same case as earlier in the week, near the media people.
It seemed like it took forever to get to
the Judy/Oz section of the auction, but finally, it came. Yes, I
turned on the video camera and started taping! I was able to tape
the entire Judy/Oz section of the auction. This was a good thing,
because I was so anxious for the ruby slipper part that I was barely paying
attention to everything else.
The auction went something like this:
|The shoes appeared
on the monitor and it's like almost everyone in the place heald their breath....
The auctioneers dialogue:
Lot 148. The
lot we've all been waiting for, the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.
Lot 148 and $420,000.00
At $420,000.00 (absentee
At $420,000.00 (absentee
At $450,000.00 (phone
At $480,000.00 (absentee
At $500,000.00 (phone
At $550,000.00 (absentee
At $550,000.00 against
the telephone, at $550,000.00..
$580,000.00 in the
back (pointing to the back of the room).
New bidder now at $580,000.00.
$600,000.00 - (pointing
to the back of the room)
Now at $600,000.00,
against you on the telephone, the bid is here.
And selling for $600,000.00!
Applause from the audience,
heads are turning and whoever it was left through the back door of the
Please note: The official price for
the shoes as reported by the media is $666,000.00 - $600,000.00 plus
the Christie's commision, taxes, etc..
After the auction, it was out to the sidewalk,
where David Elkouby and Tony were being interviewed by the various news
cameras. I'd love to get my hands on some of these interviews!
Click on any
image to view.
I eventually introduced myself to Mr. Elkouby
(after being gently prodded by John!), told him about the website, asked
permission to use his name - and gave him the web address. I have
to admit, part of me wanting to talk to him was to find out if he was friendly,
and from my first impression, to see what kinds of hands the shoes had
gone to! But there just wasn't enough time for any kind of in depth
conversation. By this point, this pair of shoes had become very important
to me. The new owner would definitely have some big shoes to fill
(I wonder if this isn't the most applicable use of this old cliche, ever!)
as far as I was concerned.
Click on any
image to view.
Two strange things happened while on the
sidewalk in front of Christie's. I saw Ruth Landini, congratulated
her, asked if they were happy and then went over to Tony to do the same.
Tony wanted to introduce me to his family - guess who they were!?
The same group of people that had been sitting at the next table over from
me at the diner! The man that came in late was Tony and Ruth's son!
I confessed to have eavesdropped on them at the diner when I overheard
their auction talk... Yes, It got a chuckle from them.
The second strange thing was - Carol Hays
told me that she might be attending the auction, so if she was there I
wanted to try and find her. I saw a couple of women standing out
on the sidewalk talking and watching all the goings on, and my curiosity
got the best of me. So I asked, "Are you Carol Hays?" The reply
I got almost knocked me over. "No, I'm not, my name is Jane Lahr,
I'm Bert Lahr's daughter and this is Ray Bolger's niece." Well, my
jaw must have dropped, because they both laughed at the expression on my
It was now late, the crowd was dispersing
and Bill and I decided to 'cab it' back to Brooklyn. My first cab
ride since I'd been in the city. Bill and I watched the auction as
soon we returned to his apartment, then we scanned the news trying to find
coverage - it was late - so we missed everything except for the tail end
of one piece.
Bill had to work in the morning, so it
was off to bed. I went to bed sad that night, because I was NOT ready
to go back to reality!