Princess Diana’s iconic sheep sweater sold for a record $1.14 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York.
The sweater, featuring a black sheep among rows of white ones, was unearthed in an attic in March and commanded a higher price than many other objects tied to the “People’s Princess.”
Bidding opened on August 31 and the top bid stayed under $200,000 until the auction’s final minutes. Sotheby’s had estimated the value of the sweater at $50,000 to $80,000. The identity of the winning bidder was not disclosed.
The sweater’s design is often described as symbolic of Diana’s place within the royal family. However, fashion historians believe she was simply sporting the “Sloane Ranger” style she helped popularise when she wore the sweater in 1981, a month before her wedding to then Prince Charles.
Shortly after her marriage, Buckingham Palace wrote to the sweater’s maker, Warm and Wonderful Knitwear, that it had been damaged and sought a repair or replacement. Princess Diana then wore the replacement to another polo match in 1983.
Sotheby’s included the letter to Warm and Wonderful as well as a thank-you note for the replacement in the auction lot. It also used the sweater’s small hole to confirm authenticity.