Princess Diana’s iconic jumper sells for staggering amount at auction

Diana, Princess of Wales wearing 'Black sheep' wool jumper by Warm and Wonderful (Muir & Osborne) to Windsor Polo, June 1981.

An iconic jumper belonging to the late Princess Diana has sold for nearly £1 million at auction. 

Princess Diana’s famous black sheep jumper, which she wore at a polo match in June 1981, fetched $1.14 million (£920,000) at a Sotheby’s in New York – making it the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction. 

It hugely exceeded its estimated value of $50,000 to $80,000 (£40,000 to £70,000).

The red jumper features one black sheep amongst a flock of white ones, a design which commentators have since said may have been chosen by Diana as it represented how she felt amongst the royal family. 

Initially thought to be lost to the mists of time, the jumper was rediscovered in an attic by designer Joanna Osborne and was authenticated by photo-matching and cross referencing specific signs of wear on the sleeve.


You may like to watch

Princess Diana’s black sheep jumper is an iconic clothing item (Sotheby’s)

It was created by Osborne and Sally Muir for their knitwear brand  Warm & Wonderful, which they founded in 1979, and was one of their first designs.  

“It was kind of ‘could this honestly be the one?’,” Osbourne said of the moment she found it in her loft, “Rather than be hysterical, I was sort of questioning, and then I saw the cuff and was like: ‘Yes, that’s the one!’”

The Sotheby’s catalogue note says the jumper was worn by Diana, then Lady Diana Spencer, whilst watching a polo match in which Prince Charles played.

“This lot includes two official letters, written in 1981, from Buckingham Palace to Warm and Wonderful politely explaining the jumper had been damaged and requested either a repair or replacement,” the catalogue note continues. 

“Warm and Wonderful sent her a replacement sweater that she wore in 1983 to another polo match.”

Sotheby’s added: “Further investigation convinced the team: the damaged cuff, the shape, the single sheep at the shoulders, tiny variations in the sheep’s eyes which were individually sewn on …

“In conjunction with a photo matched authentication by Sotheby’s, this lost sheep jumper found in an attic is confirmed to be the original sheep jumper worn by Princess Diana over 40 years ago.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.