Margaret Hamilton


Rare Collectibles: Wizard of Oz, Updated 29 March 2024

NOTE: For the 85th anniversary of the The Wizard of Oz, Funko released a second set of characters/figures, very much like the original releases back in 2011-2013. For reasons unknown to me, they were for sale on the auction site well ahead of the official Funko site (they are now officially for sale on the Funko site, too). There are a couple of "chase" versions, which are special variations of the figures (such as "metallic"), produced in limited quantities and randomly distributed when one orders the regular production figures. In my mind, there will be a ton of 85th anniversary figures produced, and I'm not particularly interested in purchasing at this time. Every anniversary of The Wizard of Oz becomes a marketing money grab, and we're going to see a crap-load of assorted "collectible" junk before it's all over.

Collectible, still available as of March 2024: comparatively gigantic Wizard of Oz collectible, the first in a "poster" series. As I anticipated several months ago, this hasn't been a worthwhile purchase: The larger Funko Pop! figures don't do that well over time, and that includes this Oz-themed one.

The introductory price of this was $60 + shipping, and that's what Funko is still charging. On that big auction site, you may find it much cheaper, with free shipping. For some reason, the auction site had a large stock of these long before Funko did; early on, they were sometimes half of the official introductory price with free shipping (that's how I got mine, at $27).

Among the more expensive but frequently available Wizard of Oz collectibles are the various Funko Pop! film characters released in 2011. One of the most desireable is seen at the left: The "Winged Monkey" metallic figure available only at the 2011 San Diego Comic Convention. Only 480 pieces were available, and today, there are more collectors who desire this Monkey than those who own it. For early 2024, the going price average has fallen to $1200+, in top condition. To fetch the highest price, the box must be in perfect condition. I obtained my piece--not in absolutely perfect condition--several years ago for a fraction of today's price...and I doubt I'd be willing to pay today's price for such a collectible. The Wicked Witch metallic version (480 pieces) was also available at the same convention. In 2024, it has far surpassed the price of the Monkey, averaging $1700+ for a near-perfect item.

Another variation Funko Pop! that is commonly available is the limited-production "flocked" version of the Cowardly Lion. Unlike the smooth-surface production version, this limited version has a furry-velvet surface. A perfect version rose to just above $300 so far in 2024 (the version seen here would be rated perfect).

A super-rare collectible--rarely for sale anywhere--is the "Kerk Guild's Soapy Characters from the Land of Oz" figures, released in 1939. With this set, seen at the right, as long as you have the original box, you have a desireable collectible. No box, less interest...although still highly sought after. There are very few of these complete sets available; they show up for online sale only once every few years. Unlike the Funko Pop! figures, this soap set can sometimes be purchased for much less money, perhaps because it rarely shows up anywhere and people don't know about it (I have not seen any of these sets or figures for sale for over three years now...the 2024 trend may be the same). The figures were hand-painted.

Mego produced a series of ultra-flimsy/cheap Oz characters in the early 1970s, along with a separately purchased playkit. The boxed Wizard figure you see at the left was produced for a very brief time; this boxed version was then discontinued and the Wizard figure was the only figure included in the had to buy the other six figures separately.

As with the soap figures above, this boxed Wizard figure is extremely rare to find...and it's the box that makes it unique. The figure itself is easy to find and is not especially valuable. The boxed figure shown, however, is nearly impossible to find...and a lot of collectors do not know that it exists.

I have seen at least one unscrupulous seller on the auction site selling a Wizard figure, repackaged in a Dorothy box, and calling it a factory error. Don't believe it: That was a made-up crock of you-know-what by a seedy seller trying to steal extra money from buyers.

The Mego Wizard could also be purchased separately for the remaining years the set was available, but it was delivered in a cellophane wrap inside a plain, marked cardboard box, shown at right.

Another variation that exists with the Mego collection is the Cowardly Lion: There is a lion that has a golden coat; and there is a lion that has a greenish price difference between the two, but one would think that the golden coat would be preferred. I've heard that a second variation also exists: a lion that has large feet (rare) and the usual lion with smaller feet.

One-of-a-kind Autograph Book, with Video (Upgraded "Bunny" clip 24 February 2023)

On Christmas Eve 1962, Margaret was a special guest on The Danny Thomas Show playing the part of a seasoned Brownie Scout leader in the rarely televised episode, Bunny The Brownie Leader. Bunny was played by series regular, Pat Carroll, and the two women were vying for leadership of Linda's (Angela Cartwright's) Brownie troupe.

On this show was a little girl, real name Sheri, who played "June", one of the Brownies. In real life, after filming was completed, Sheri went around the studio gathering autographs of all the people who either starred in the show or worked behind the scenes. This is that autograph book, now owned by

The book has been authenticated by PSA/DNA, and it was sent to Angela Cartwright in May 2018; Ms. Cartwright not only signed it again, but she wrote that she believed the book was authentic. Her real-life sister and actress, Veronica Cartwright, also viewed and signed the book. It's believed that Veronica was an uncredited Brownie in the 1962 episode.

Note: The "Watch Now" video was upgraded to higher definition 24 February 2023. Note that "June" is the long-haired blonde Brownie in the front row at her far left.

20 Munchkin Autographs
by Stephen Cox

"When I began my search for the Munchkin actors in 1988, I discovered in obscurity (for the most part) thirty-three midget actors who worked in the classic MGM production of The Wizard of Oz. Additionally, there were seven child Munchkins surviving (young girls age 10 through 12) who appeared next to the little people in the scene, filling in for the female deficit. It had been fifty years since they all danced with Judy Garland on film, so I wasn't sure how many might still be around. I was lucky to have gone on that journey when I did and write the book, The Munchkins Remember (later revised as The Munchkins of Oz). I guess timing really is everything. It became one of my most prolific books, but it also provided me with a bundle of new friends who I'll never forget.

Each one of the little people and child Munchkins were unique and wonderful in their own way. And I was so fortunate to have had a nice relationship with them over the decades. During the 1990s and early 2000s, I attended quite a few Oz festivals, conventions, and personal appearances of the little people. I must admit, that I traveled mostly for selfish reasons—it gave me the opportunity to visit with the Munchkins, in private, and make some more memories. Each year, there were less and less of the little ones, and I never regretted even one visit with any of them. Some, like little Margaret Pellegrini, would insist I come to her hotel room after her full day of appearances and wind down with some hot coffee and a snack. I treasure those private visits where we would laugh out loud and recap the day.

Along the way, I was also blessed to have been able to acquire some rarities, like this signed photo. I didn't have many of these extraordinary pieces signed by so many of the Munchkins, but this is one of them, all autographed in person. This is history, right here on paper."

Stephen Cox
author, The Munchkins of Oz

Note: The above was written exclusively for, which is the current owner of the autographed photo. In addition to the The Munchkins of Oz, Mr. Cox has authored several books on television and movie history, some of which are listed here. We sincerely appreciate his generous contribution to this web site and his unique, personal insights involving the Munchkins of Oz. Thank you, Stephen!

Margaret Hamilton

Here is a studio photograph of Maggie playing Mrs. Klopplebobbler, a very disagreeable woman who needed her shoes fixed in the movie The Daydreamer. You can see that she inscribed the photo in the bigger view, for a person in Canada whose name has been PS'd out. The signature is real and has been authenticated by PSA/DNA, one of the most reliable authentication services available.

Autographed items from Maggie tend to be in greater demand if they are Oz related, but not always. I especially liked this one because not only is The Daydreamer a wonderfully entertaining movie, it also co-stars her Oz buddy, Ray Bolger.

Maggie was a sport about signing photos for fans. She often signed them "WWW", "Maggie", her full name, or she omitted her name completely (those are difficult to have authenticated).

There are a lot more autographs out there than Hamilton actually signed—in other words, forgeries—some better than others, all worthless. Quite often, the seller swears they are legitimate or that they were friends with Maggie, all rubbish, all lies. These sellers, no matter how perfect their feedback, have no problem taking your money...and sometimes running.

Word of advice: If you are thinking of buying an autographed item of Maggie or any other celebrity, don't buy it unless it comes with a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) from a reputable service, such as PSA/DNA, OR, the seller agrees to pay expenses if the item doesn't pass authentication. Most COAs are not worth more than the paper they're printed on, and the vast majority of signed items on Ebay are fakes. If you buy an item, have it authenticated immediately...don't wait.


On the left is a photo with forged signatures that was peddled by an Ebayer who is still selling today (click the caption to see a close-up). Many years ago, he sold a ton of Oz-related and other photos, all inscribed to "Mike", mostly with fake Hamilton and Bolger autographs. I even saw one of his forgeries at a store in the Forum Shops in Las Vegas (incidentally, that store is known for selling fakes), priced in the multiple hundreds. Mike (his real name) is out of New York and is a first-class liar...with a 100% feedback rating.

He tells Ebayers that he worked in a place frequented by many famous people, became friendly with them, and asked for their autographs (I can't see any celebrity signing a few dozen photos for any one person, can you?). He then says that he's now selling those photos "to fund my retirement." Even though this was many years ago, I see Mike's worthless photos being resold today, repeatedly, on Ebay.

What. A. Snake.

Tony Cottonaro and Jerry Maren

The person who obtained the autographs in the photo on the right was friends with the Munchkin on the left, Tommy Cottonaro, and Cottonaro was friends with Munchkin Jerry Maren, the Lollipop Kid. The photo was taken at the August 15, 1939, premiere of The Wizard of Oz. At the premiere, the film's real Munchkin Mayor, Charley Becker, was in Europe, so Maren donned the mayoral make-up and costume for the event.

Interestingly, this is the only event where Cottonaro is posed in the Munchkin make-up and costume worn in the movie. No production stills exist that show him in this attire.

Both autographs were obtained in 2000, but at separate locations. Cottonaro died in 2001; Maren was the last surviving Munchkin for many years, but died 24May2018 at age 98.

Cottonaro had a very diverse 15-year film career that began in 1939, and ended in the mid-1950s. In the '50s, he was part of the Hermine Midgets troupe, which originally came to the U.S. from Vienna.

The most famous movie featuring the Hermine Midgets was the 1955 Danny Kaye musical comedy, The Court Jester. Tommy Cottonaro was one of them.

Pictured at the left is Kaye with some of the Hermine Midgets; I'm not sure if Cottonaro is one of them shown (likely not, as he was taller than most of the other little people). He left show business after this movie was completed, went into a non-entertainment management position in New York, and did not participate in Oz-related conventions for the rest of his life.

Ray Bolger

Bolger's autograph is quite common, but once again, there are a lot more autographs supposedly by him than really exist, and those are fakes. Unlike Hamilton, Bolger's signed Oz photos have a solid edge over his non-Oz signings.

If you purchase a Bolger-autographed item especially on the auction site, and the provenance would be iffy to a future buyer, get the item authenticated immediately. If it comes back a fake, you can file a claim against the seller and claw back your purchase price. You might be out of the authentication fee (it will cost you around $60.00 to authenticate an 8-by-10), but that's better than losing your purchase-price money and the fee.

If you purchase a forgery, after getting your money back, be sure to raise heck for the seller by using negative feedback, and file a complaint with the hosting website. Tell your credit-card company, too, if you have problems (American Express is especially good about intervening on your behalf). You can also file a complaint with the US Postal Service; they frown on people who use the mail system in order to commit fraud. The threat of a USPS complaint might be a good way to claw back your lost authentication costs.

Munchkin Posters, Autographed

At left, a 1994 limited-edition poster signed by two Munchkins (Jerry Maren and Meinhardt Raabe). The two stars signed 3000 of these posters for the company, Totally Collectible. A number of these posters were contracted by Warner Brothers and offered for sale at its own online store (that's where I got mine). I believe the price back then was $75 each, via Warner Brothers.

The owner of Totally Collectible did indeed know the Munchkins, and the posters (both versions discussed here) are legitimate. For years, the last surviving Munchkin was Jerry Maren, but he died 24May2018. Because of his long life, and because he had signed so many different Oz memorabilia, the value of his autograph is diluted compared to other Munchkin autographs.

At right is the 1994 limited-edition poster signed by nine Munchkins. They signed 1000 of these limited-edition posters for the company, Totally Collectible. I don't believe that Warner Brothers offered any of these for sale at its online store. The introductory price fluctuated.