Bert Lahr Wizard

Christie’s will offer Cowardly Lion actor Bert Lahr’s personal copy of The Wizard of Oz (1900) in a sale on December 5.

The piece appears to be entirely unique.

First edition copies of this classic novel are rare enough.

Bert Lahr Wizard

Bert Lahr played the Cowardly Lion in the movie adaptation of The Wizard of Oz

But to date, no other copies of this book belonging to the movie’s stars have surfaced. This copy comes with a letter of provenance from Lahr’s two children.

It’s valued at $30,000-50,000.

Other examples in similar condition sell around the $20,000 point.

However, the valuation is considerably less than the sums paid for presentation copies featuring Baum’s signature. Those have been known to go for as much as $150,000.

It remains to be seen whether Lahr’s star power can push the sum higher.

Lahr’s performance as the Cowardly Lion is one of the most memorable in movie history.

He’d made his name as a comedian on the vaudeville circuit, appearing in a couple of movies along the way.

The Wizard of Oz would be the high point of his film career. He went into theatre afterwards, taking on the role of Estragon in the US premiere of Samuel Beckett’s existentialist drama Waiting for Godot.

We have this truly extraordinary signed photograph of Lahr as the Cowardly Lion for sale.

The auction looks set to be one of the most exciting of the year, with a mallet hand-made by a young Abraham Lincoln and a telescope belonging to Albert Einstein also featuring.

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