Wizard of Oz ruby slippers recovered

Ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz have been recovered after being stolen.
Ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz have been recovered after being stolen.

A pair of ruby slippers used in The Wizard Of Oz and later stolen from a Minnesota museum have been recovered in a sting operation after a man told the shoes' insurer he could help get them back, the FBI says.

The slippers were on loan to the Judy Garland Museum in the late actress' hometown of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, when they were taken in 2005 by someone who climbed through a window and broke into a small display case.

The shoes were insured for $US1 million ($A1.4 million).

The FBI said a man approached the insurer last year and said he could help get them back.

Grand Rapids police asked for the FBI's help and after a nearly year-long investigation, the slippers were recovered in July this year during a sting operation in Minneapolis.

The FBI, which unveiled the recovered slippers at a news conference on Tuesday, said no one had yet been arrested or charged in the case, but they had "multiple suspects" and continued to investigate.

The slippers had been on loan to the Garland museum from Hollywood memorabilia collector Michael Shaw.

Three other pairs that Garland wore in the film are held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Smithsonian and a private collector.

The stolen slippers' authenticity was verified by comparing them with the pair at the Smithsonian's Museum of American History in Washington.

The ruby slippers are key in the 1939 movie.

After landing in the Land of Oz after a tornado hit her farm in Kansas, Garland's character Dorothy has to click the heels of her slippers three times and repeat "there's no place like home" to return.

Rhys Thomas, author of The Ruby Slippers Of Oz, called the slippers "the Holy Grail of Hollywood memorabilia".

"They are maybe the most iconic cinematic prop or costume in movie history, and in fact, in cultural history," he said.

"They are a cultural icon."

Thomas estimated this particular pair could be worth between $US2 million and $US7 million.

He said he was "99 per cent" sure they appeared in the film.

Law enforcement offered a $US250,000 reward early in the case, and a fan in Arizona offered another $US million in 2015.

The shoes are made from about a dozen different materials, including wood pulp, silk thread, gelatin, plastic and glass.

Most of the ruby colour comes from sequins but the bows of the shoes contain red glass beads.

The genre-busting Wizard Of Oz was a box office smash and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, with wins for Best Song and Best Original Score.

Australian Associated Press