The sale of Princess Diana’s black sheep jumper, one of the most memorable items of clothing the royal ever wore, has smashed expectations and records in New York, where it has sold for over ten times its predicted price.
The jumper, which is by knitwear brand Warm & Wonderful, features a singular black sheep amongst its white flock, stitched onto a red background. It was announced as up for auction by Sotheby’s this June, who predicted it to fetch between $50,000 to $80,000 (£40,227 to £64,363).
Turns out they underestimated the value, given it just sold for $1.1 million (£885,000) in New York. The amount makes Diana’s jumper a record breaking sale — it is the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction and the most anyone has ever paid for an article of Diana’s clothing, according to Sotheby’s.
The sweater exceeded all expectations, despite showing some signs of wear at the cuff — though this may have even served to increase its value.
It was discovered by designer Joanna Osborne in an attic this March, more than 40 years after it was first made famous by the Princess of Wales. Then-19-year-old Diana was photographed wearing the jumper while attending a polo match in support of Prince Charles, just weeks before the pair were due to get married.
Around a month after she wore it, Osborne received a letter from Buckingham Palace saying the jumper had been damaged. “We were rather appalled so we immediately replaced it,” she told The Guardian, explaing how she thought the original had been “lost in the mists of time.”
Then, this March, she unearthed it. “It was kind of ‘could this honestly be the one?’. Rather than be hysterical, I was sort of questioning, and then I saw the cuff and was like: ‘Yes, that’s the one!’”
As well as its memorable design, the jumper also has emotional value because of its symbolism. According to Tatler, “at the time, some royal commentators interpreted the ‘black sheep’ message as a comment on how Diana was feeling about her place within the monarchy.”
Online bidding opened on August 31, the 26th anniversary of Diana’s death in a Paris car crash. Sotheby’s haven’t disclosed the identity of the winning bidder, but someone out there is now in possession of the world’s most valuable sweater.