"That's kind of sad because for 40 years Debbie has tried relentlessly to open up a museum, and you know what? No one ever came to her rescue," said Joseph Maddalena, president of Profiles in History, which is conducting the auction. "She is going on 80 and she says she is done."
"I'm exhausted, frankly," Reynolds said with a laugh. "I deserve a vacation for preservation."
Profiles in History is holding the auction of 600 lots on June 18. There is already interest from all around the world for the one-of-a-kind movie treasures. Reynolds' collection is so vast, there are two more auctions scheduled, the next one in December.
One of the items is a Barbra Streisand costume from 1969 that cost $100,000 to make. Another is a test pair of Judy Garland's ruby slippers from the "Wizard of Oz." There's also a dress Marilyn Monroe wore in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," which is estimated to go between $200,000 and $300,000.
"This represents what's left of Hollywood," Maddalena said. "If it wasn't for Debbie saving these things, there would be nothing left of the history of Hollywood. She literally saved the past."
For those who want to see the costumes in person, they are on display for free noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday through June 17 at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.