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Historic Princess Diana Ball Gown Sells for $604,800 at Sotheby's

Princess Diana’s Famous “Infanta”-Style Ball Gown Soars to $604,800
The Victor Edelstein-Designed Dress Was Immortalized by the Princess of Wales in 1997 Vanity Fair Photoshoot by Mario Testino

NEW YORK, 27 January 2023 – Moments ago in Sotheby’s New York salesroom, a dress formerly in the collection and worn by Princess Diana, achieved $604,800.

The strapless evening dress, in “Infanta”-style by Victor Edelstein was competed for by 4 bidders for over 4 and a half minutes during Sotheby’s inaugural curated auction ‘The One,’ achieving more than 5 times its pre-auction estimate.

The ball dress is part of Sotheby’s inaugural curated auction ‘The One’ showcasing an unprecedented selection of the finest products of human achievement in history, which together tell an extraordinary story of excellence in craft, artistry and endeavor – from the great civilizations of antiquity to the fashion and entertainment worlds of today.

The ball dress by Victor Edelstein famously adorned the Princess of Wales in a royal portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1991, and later appeared in Vanity Fair in 1997, shot by Mario Testino during a famed portrait session that forever immortalized Princess Diana in one of her most iconic and favorite dresses of all time.

The ball dress of deep aubergine silk velvet, with a tulip-shaped stiffened skirt, augmented by three paste buttons at the back, was designed by society dressmaker Victor Edelstein and is most notably known for being part of the 1997 auction that comprised 80 dresses from Princess Diana’s personal collection to benefit the AIDS Crisis Trust and the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund.

The dress was designed for Victor Edelstein’s Autumn 1989 collection. Although designed as part of his collection for the season, Edelstein included the outline of a tiara in his sketch - perhaps suggesting he specifically had Diana in mind for the dress. Edelstein went on to design dresses for Princess Diana for over a decade, from 1982 to 1993.

In 1991, British portraitist Douglas Hardinge Anderson depicted Princess Diana wearing the ball dress in a painting now hung at the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund, which she visited, supported through philanthropy and served as President for. The dress was later featured on Franklin Mint’s 1998 limited edition Princess Diana doll, as part of a collection of 1,000 dolls wearing her most iconic dresses.

LeBron James' jersey from his NBA Finals Game 7 victory with the Miami Heat in 2013 achieved $3.7 million, setting a new record for a game-worn LeBron James jersey at auction.

Offered with a pre-sale estimate of $3/5 million, the final price today marks LeBron’s NBA Finals Game 7 jersey among the highest prices achieved for any game-worn jersey on the open market, as well as the third most valuable game-worn jersey ever sold at Sotheby’s – placing it behind Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ jersey, which sold for $9.3 million at Sotheby’s London in 2022. Sotheby’s currently holds the record for any game-worn item of sports memorabilia with Michael Jordan’s game-worn 1998 NBA Finals jersey, which sold for $10.1 million in September 2022. Today’s $3.7 million result also shatters the previous record for a game-worn Lebron James jersey – a 2020 NBA All-Star Game jersey – that sold for $630,000 in 2020.

  • 27.01.2023
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    the exhibition – opening on 5 February and on view until 5 May at Sotheby’s Tel Aviv office, located at 6 Rothschild Boulevard 

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  • Princess Diana Dress Close Up (Front)
    Princess Diana Dress Close Up (Front)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Princess Diana Dress (Front)
    Princess Diana Dress (Front)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Princess Diana Dress Close Up
    Princess Diana Dress Close Up
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Princess Diana Dress Close Up (Back)
    Princess Diana Dress Close Up (Back)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus