LOS ANGELES, November 29, 2011- Do you have the courage to bid on an original Cowardly Lion costume offered by Profiles in History on December 16th? The costume is big game to collectors and connoisseurs for being worn by the rarest of all lion breeds: the kind that sang and danced its way down the Yellow Brick Road and into our collective hearts in The Wizard of Oz.

Joe Maddalena, who runs Profiles says, “This costume was worn when the Cowardly Lion first meets Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road and sings ‘If I only had the Nerve’ as well as when he later sings his trademark, ‘If I were King of the Forest’ in the Emerald City. Just like the Ruby Slippers we offer in the same auction that Dorothy wore when she clicked her heels together and returned to Kansas, this Cowardly Lion costume is very special because it was worn in some of the most magical moments of the film. It is one of only two known costumes worn by Bert Lahr in the production of The Wizard of Oz.”

The costume made from an actual lion hide received an extraordinary level of care, which is reflected in its $2,000,000 – $3,000,000 presale estimate. James Comisar, a noted specialist in preserving top-tier cultural materials, supervised the preservation effort: “We knew only the very best would be appropriate for an icon as indelible as the Cowardly Lion, so we assembled a team of experts who conserved the costume at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Herbert Lahr, the son of actor Bert Lahr, had a strong resemblance to his dad and he allowed us to mold his face because the Cowardly Lion’s original make-up did not survive the production. Most of us cannot relate to not having a brain or a heart; we can all relate to not having enough courage, and I believe that’s why the Cowardly Lion continues to resonate year after year and generation after generation,” says Comisar.

According to the American Film Institute, The Wizard of Oz is the #1 fantasy genre motion picture of all time; and it is also likely the definitive family favorite, having been shown regularly in numerous theatrical releases and on annual television airings. “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a blue chip film treasure that has also been cared for by the best in the museum world, and in our art market it doesn’t get any better than this,” adds Maddalena.

Profiles in History’s two-day Icons of Hollywood auction will be held December 15 & 16 at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and will include other stellar Hollywood memorabilia ranging from Bela Lugosi’s iconic cape from Dracula ($1,500,000 – $2,000,000,) the DeLorean from Back to the Future III ($400,000 – $600,000,) Marilyn Monroe’s wedding ring from her marriage to Joe DiMaggio ($300,000 to $500,000) and a Marilyn Monroe nude painting by Earl Moran ($70,000 to $90,000.) Profiles in History’s Icons of Animation auction will be on November 17 also at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Stay tuned for the announcement of more iconic items up for auction.



Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the nation’s leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.  Born into a family of antiques dealers in Rhode Island, Joseph “Joe” Maddalena learned early on how to turn his passion of collecting historical autographs into a career. Needing to support himself, Joe turned to his hobby of buying and selling historical documents as a potential way to earn revenue. On weekends he scoured old Hollywood bookstores for letters and rare books. Upon graduation from Pepperdine, Joe pursued his passion to become a full-time dealer of historical documents, and opened his first office in 1985. A lifetime member of the Manuscript Society, Joe is widely recognized as the nation’s leading authority on entertainment memorabilia and historical documents. Profiles in History has established itself as the world’s largest auctioneer of original Hollywood memorabilia, having held some of the most prestigious and successful auctions of Hollywood memorabilia and owning virtually every Guinness Book record for prices of original screen-used memorabilia. With an extensive network of dealers, collectors, and institutions, Profiles in History is proud to play an important role in the preservation of motion picture history. Prior Profiles in History Hollywood auctions’ highlights include a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds” dress from  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ($356,500); Luke Skywalker’s light saber from Star Wars  ($240,000); Margaret Hamilton’s “Wicked Witch” hat from The Wizard Of Oz ($230,000); and The Invisible Man 1933 one-sheet movie poster ($230,000). Most recently from the history-making Debbie Reynolds Auction in June 2011, Profiles in History sold the Marilyn Monroe “Subway” Dress from The Seven Year Itch for $5.52M, the Marilyn Monroe signature red-sequined showgirl gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for $1.44M and the Audrey Hepburn Ascot Dress from My Fair Lady for $4.44M. In addition, Joe Maddalena is the star of SyFy’s hit show, Hollywood Treasure. With already 24 episodes aired, Hollywood Treasure is gearing up for an exciting return in 2012.