In a surprising turn of events, a sweater that seemed ordinary sold for a staggering $1.1 million. This caught the attention of collectors and fashion lovers alike. This shocking sale has shocked the fashion world, and many people are thinking about what makes this piece of clothing so valuable.
In this introduction, we go into the interesting story behind the sweater’s record-breaking sale price. We look at its past, meaning, and the things that led to its record-breaking sales. Get ready to find out how a simple sweater turned into a million-dollar work of art.
Sweater Sells for $1.1M
Following a frantic round of final online bidding, the Sotheby’s auction house has reported that a red sweater worn by a young Princess Diana and displaying a lone black sheep among rows of fuzzy white sheep sold at auction for more than $1.1 million.
The whimsically themed “Black Sheep” sweater, which Diana, then 19, wore at a polo match in June 1981 shortly after she became engaged to then-Prince Charles, became one of the princess-to-be’s most iconic pieces of clothing.
In retrospect, the outfit seemed to allude to Diana’s rocky future as a member of the British royal family. After a vigorous internet bidding war, Sotheby’s sold the sweater for $1.1 million, including fees and commission, which is 10 times the original selling estimate of $50,000 to $80,000, the auction house announced on Thursday.
A barrage of offers forced Sotheby’s to extend the sale by several minutes, and in the final 15 minutes, the price rose from $190,000 to $1.1 million. The victorious bidder’s identity was kept a secret by the auctioneers.
According to Sotheby’s, it surpasses the $604,000 price tag placed on Princess Diana’s Infanta-style ball gown, which was the highest price ever paid at auction for a piece of her clothing. The most expensive sweater ever sold at auction, it is also.
The sweater predates so much of the turbulence that finally characterized Diana’s life, Sotheby’s noted on its website when announcing the sale. “Unlike most of the items we’ve seen pass through the hands of lucky collectors and museums in the 25-plus years since her death, the sweater came before so much of the turmoil that ultimately defined Diana’s life,” it added.
Warm and Wonderful, a knitting company founded by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne and then-unknown designers, became well-known after Diana wore one of their designs.
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A note informing the designers that one of the sweater’s sleeves had been harmed and requesting if it might be fixed or replaced was received a few weeks after Diana was pictured wearing the garment.
Diana received a new sweater from the creators. However, Osborne discovered the “Black Sheep” in a small box in her attic in March 2023, contrary to their presumption that the original had been fixed and sent to a different purchaser.
Along with the letter asking for repairs, Oliver Everett, Diana’s personal secretary, also included a thank-you note in the auction. “Worn by Diana Spencer in 1981 to a polo match of Prince Charles,” read the notation in the Sotheby’s catalogue.
According to the listing, “This lot includes two official letters, written in 1981, from Buckingham Palace to Warm and Wonderful politely explaining the jumper had been damaged and requested either a repair or replacement,”
“Warm and Wonderful sent her a replacement sweater that she wore in 1983 to another polo match,” it said. “In conjunction with a photo-matched authentication by Sotheby’s, this lost sheep jumper found in an attic is confirmed to be the original sheep jumper worn by Princess Diana over 40 years ago.” On August 31, the 26th anniversary of Diana’s passing in a Paris car crash, online bidding began.