Dress from Diana's dance with John Travolta sashays to $800,000

Just yesterday we were noting the ongoing interest in Princess Diana with a flurry of collectibles related to the late Queen of Hearts exhibited or sold for significant/surprising prices in recent times.

The value of her memorabilia seems to have ridden, rather than been eclipsed by, the new interest in the next generation of Royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Last night (June 23) at Waddington's Auctioneers in Canada, 14 gowns owned by the Princess went under the hammer, and there was certainly no shortage of interest.

Diana views dresses at the 1997 auction at which
last night's dresses were first bought

The dresses had belonged to Maureen Rorech Dunkel, who bought 12 of Diana's dresses at a Christie's auction in 1997 for $870,000. Diana died in a car crash just eight weeks later. Two dresses were later added to Dunkel's collection.

The original auction raised $3.25m in total for charities Diana supported. As yet, Waddingtons has not released a breakdown of the proceeds of this auction, but the 14 dresses were expected to make a comparable total now to the 79 dresses in the earlier auction.

A portion of the revenue generated will go to charity.

The expected top lot was a dark blue velvet gown Diana wore to a 1985 White House dinner where she danced with John Travolta, whose early hit films included Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

The gown sold for an $800,000 hammer price (without buyer's premium) last night, almost as much as 12 dresses cost Dunkel in 1997.

Just over a year ago, the black taffeta dress worn by Diana for her first official Royal engagement sold for £192,000 ($307,400 at today's exchange rate - nearly four times its £50,000 high estimate).

Dubbed the 'take the plunge dress' by the British tabloids, it was sold by Kerry Taylor's auction house. Click here to read an exclusive interview with Taylor, who later sold Kate Middleton's 'catwalk' dress.


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