The iconic polka dot dress comedy queen Lucille Ball wore as Lucy Ricardo on 'I Love Lucy' is set to auction on July 30. The bidding begins at $40,000, and could fetch as much as $60,000 for the dress that Lucy wore when she had "some 'splainin' to do."
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Although there were variations in several episodes, the original dress, designed by Elois Jenssen, featured navy blue and white polka dot print fabric, shoulder pads, and black satin lining. The details of the dress, like white cuffed short sleeves, a white flower collar, a false, pleated, tuxedo shirt front panel, and pearl snap buttons, made it Lucy's signature look as she greeted her husband, Ricky Ricardo, when he arrived home from work and made us all laugh.
But viewers didn't see some of the unique details of the character-defining dress on TV. Lucy's dress also included a false button closure and a scoop neckline, so Lucille Ball could make fast costume changes and keep her makeup from smudging. The auctioneer, Profiles in History, describes it as the "'Holy Grail' of all female television costumes."
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This isn't the first item of Lucille Ball's to be on the auction block. Love letters, photos, trophies, and a Rolls Royce were consigned to Heritage Auction Galleries in 2010 by the comedienne's second husband's widow, Susie Morton. Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Lucille's daughter, attempted to block the sale. A judge ruled in her favor, but Lucie declined to pay a $250,000 bond for a restraining order. The memorabilia was auctioned, and the lifetime achievement awards were returned to Ball's daughter. 'I Love Lucy' aired from 1951-1957, and the sitcom full of hilarious shenanigans has since been syndicated in dozens of countries around the world.