SUPPORT OUR JOURNALISM: Please consider donating to keep our website running and free for all - thank you!

British RoyalsFashion

You could own one of the world’s most famous jumpers if you have £70,000

The infamous sheep jumper worn by Diana, Princess of Wales is estimated to earn £70,000 at an auction this autumn.

The famous red and white “black sheep” jumper had been lost for decades but will be put up for auction for the first time at Sotheby’s in New York on 7 September. The late Princess first wore the woollen jumper at a polo match with her-then fiancé, the Prince of Wales (now King Charles III), in June 1981.

This was one of the first pieces Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne designed for their knitwear line, Warm & Wonderful. Thanks to the Princess, a casual day at the polo ground put this brand in the public eye. In a statement, they reflect on that June day that would change their life:

“Much to our amazement, the first we knew of Lady Diana Spencer wearing the sweater was when we saw her on the front page of one of the Sunday newspapers.

“Her influence was impactful almost immediately thereafter, leading to a surge in sales and public awareness of our small label, for which we will be forever grateful.

A few weeks after its first appearance, the designers received a letter from Buckingham Palace asking for either a replacement or a repair as the original jumper had been damaged. A new sweater (as Americans call it) was sent Diana’s way, and the origins of the original remained unknown until March 2023, when it was discovered in Muir and Osborne’s attic. The famous jumper was tucked away in a small box inside a cotton bedspread.

Warm & Wonderful reproduced the infamous black sheep style in 1984 and again in 2020 as part of a collaboration with the brand Rowing Blazers. Meanwhile, a jumper with the same design is part of a permanent collection at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sotheby’s global head of fashion and accessories, Cynthia Houlton, said of the iconic item being auctioned off: “This exceptional garment, meticulously preserved, carries the whispers of Princess Diana’s grace, charm, and her keen eye for fashion.”

This will not be the auction houses’ first time with Diana’s belongings. The house holds the record for one of the most valuable Diana dresses sold ever – an aubergine ball dress bought for about £474,870 in January 2023. Diana’s Attallah Cross was sold to Kim Kardashian in the Royal and Noble auction in London, also in January, for £163,800.

Sotheby’s is offering the original jumper as part of its inaugural Fashion Icons sale, which will be during New York Fashion Week from 31 August to 13 September.

"; n.innerHTML = "window._taboola = window._taboola || [];_taboola.push({mode:'thumbnails-a', container:'taboola-below-article-thumbnails', placement:'Below Article Thumbnails', target_type: 'mix'});"; insertAfter(t, e); insertAfter(n, t) }injectWidgetByMarker('tbmarker');

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.