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Dorothy’s Slippers

The New York Times is reporting that the Smithsonian Institute is currently raising $300,000 to restore the red slippers that Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz. (Picture from the article)

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The thought of this blog is “What is it worth?”.  But first, why are these slippers so valuable. If you are an insurance company, you look at some book and offer the replacement value for slippers. In the insurance world, that’s what they are worth.

But, if you read the article, you’ll see that the slippers were originally manufactured shoes. Then, MGM Studio dyed them red, and the studio’s designers added a red netting over the shoes, covered with sequins. Now after 80 years, they are falling apart and the paint on their arches is cracked and flaking. They are deteriorating.

The shoes are worth “more than shoes” for reasons related to the movie and this picture.

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There’s just something about seeing those in that picture, that brings them special meaning. The kind of meaning that causes the Smithsonian to want to spend 300K to fix them. And that doesn’t even consider what their real worth is.

The shoes were given to the museum in 1979 by an anonymous donor. Since the donation, they have been on almost continuous display. They  have an added layer of red felt on the sole, meant to muffle the sound of Dorothy’s dancing on the yellow brick road.

In injury cases, good defense lawyers want to make everything about actual dollar losses. That’s not real life. Real life takes into consideration the real loss that’s behind the dollars and cents, the actual emotional loss and attachment.

In the article, they ask the museum representative whether this shoe project is the most expensive, ambitious that he has worked on in restoration. His answer?

The most expensive conservation project he worked on (2008) was the restoration of the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. It’s worth is related to the fact that it was the inspiration for the writing of the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Ten to 12 people worked on that project for three years. The cost? Over $21 million. That’s just to restore it, not just the value of it.

What is the value of a loss from a car crash? Human loss is certainly much more than sentimental shoes or an inspirational flag.

And for pic o’ day, I think I have posted this one before. Still, it makes me laugh. Could this really be a picture?

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