Third-Tier Gone With the Wind Costume Sells for $137,000

In Depth

Somebody coughed up $137,000 for a dress once worn by Vivien Leigh during the filming of Gone with the Wind.

The New York Times reports that the dress (grey with black trimmings, but it looked blue in the movie) was recently sold by Heritage Auctions, along with a bunch of other Gone with the Wind memorabilia. Apparently there was a straw hat that went for $52,500. Yes, both items were worn by Vivien Leigh and legitimate pieces of Hollywood history. But $137,000 for a dress that’s neither the dress she wears to the Wilkes’ barbecue nor the green velvet dress made of drapes? It never ceases to amaze me what people will spend their money on. (Also worth pointing out: This is the dress Scarlett wears during the scenes containing a very thinly disguised romanticization of the Klan. Not something I want sitting around my house.)

Here’s the real kick in the pants—the collector selling the dress originally bought the damn thing for $20, back in the ‘60s. According to the Telegraph, Jim Tumblin worked at Universal for two decades, and he very nearly stepped on the dress one day while knocking around Western Costume:

“I saw this dress on the floor and a docent told me not to bother to pick it up, because they were throwing it away,” he said.
“I asked if he would sell it to me. I had noticed there was a printed label saying Selznick International Pictures and ‘Scarlett production dress’ was written in ink.”

And that is how you find yourself amassing a collection of memorabilia from a movie that’s not even your all-time favorite (Tumblin prefers Stella Dallas).

Photos via Getty, Heritage Auctions.

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