The iconic knitwear has become the most valuable jumper ever sold at auction.
The iconic red jumper worn by Princess Diana shortly after her engagement to then-Prince Charles, featuring rows of fluffy little sheep, sold at auction for $1.1 million (approx. €1.03 million) following a frenetic bout of final bidding, according to Sotheby’s
The 19-year-old sported the knit garment – which includes one black sheep amid dozens of otherwise white wooly creatures – at a June 1981 polo match during her whirlwind days as a shy royal-in-the-making.
The playfully patterned “Black Sheep” jumper became one of the most emblematic articles of clothing worn by Diana, which in hindsight seems to foretell her troubled journey as a member of the British royal family.
The garment nabbed $1.1 million, which includes fees and commission, after a fierce battle by internet bidders. The total was over ten times more than Sotheby’s initial estimate of between $50,000 to $80,000.
Due to an avalanche of bids, the auction house extended the sale by several minutes, with the price leaping astronomically from $190,000 to $1.1 million in the final 15 minutes.
According to Sotheby’s, it is the highest price ever paid at auction for a garment belonging to Princess Diana – eclipsing her Infanta-style ball gown sold in January for $604,800 (approx. €566,000) – as well as the most valuable jumper ever sold at auction.
The garment was created by then-little-known designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne and their knitting company Warm and Wonderful, which was subsequently catapulted to fame. It was so iconic that it even appeared (via replica) in the fourth season of Netflix drama The Crown, chronicling the House of Windsor’s recent history.