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Activist pays $100,000 for ‘Brokeback’ shirts

Buyer calls them ‘the ruby slippers of our time,’ plans to keep pair entwined
/ Source: The Associated Press

Tom Gregory just spent more than $100,000 on two used cowboy shirts. And he couldn't be happier.

The shirts are the ones worn by the ill-fated lovers, played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, in Oscar front-runner "Brokeback Mountain." The shirts that represent their relationship. The shirts that, to Gregory, represent the ongoing plight of gays for acceptance in society.

"They really are the ruby slippers of our time," said Gregory, 45.

A longtime gay activist, Gregory plans to keep the shirts "as they were, on the hanger, entwined."

"I would never wear them, put them on, or separate them," he said.

Gregory collects signed celebrity photos from Hollywood's golden age, but this is his first foray into movie props. Focus Features, distributor of "Brokeback Mountain," donated the two shirts, which were sold on the auction Web site to benefit Variety — The Children's Charity of Southern California.

Gregory logged his winning bid — $101,100.51 — just 28 seconds before the 10-day auction came to a close on Monday.

"There is no buyer's remorse," he said, characterizing the purchase as "the most fun thing I ever bought."