The Story of... Memories of Princess Diana on the collectibles markets

As Paul wrote in his article 'Royal memorabilia offers you a royal investment' the other week, 'Royal Memorabilia really is one of the 'surest things' that you can invest your money into.'

Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair
coined Diana's unofficial title of
'The People's Princess' in a speech
hurriedly drafted on the back of an
envelope after her death in 1997

For instance, many museums are interested memorabilia related to the likes of Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. But investors can feel sure that museums will want to own a letter inked by Charles II himself in future years.

The comparison between celebrity and  Royal collectibles is an interesting one. And arguably the Royal who rode the divide between 'Royal icon' and 'cultural icon' was Lady Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales.

This was brought into clear perspective following her death, along with lover Dodi Al Fayed, in an automobile crash in Paris's Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in 1997.

Following the news, the public and media in the UK contributed to an outpouring of mass grief, the likes of which hasn't been seen before or since. In his new memoirs, then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly admits he felt a need to "manage" the situation.

The result was his famous "People's Princess" speech - promptly drafted on the back of an envelope by Blair and political aide Alistair Campbell - which, along with Elton John's specially-released Goodbye England's Rose single and ceaseless press coverage, accompanied the national grief.

This is one of the best signed Diana portraits we've ever handled at
Paul Fraser Collectibles (You can find out more here)


The origins of the media furore surrounding Diana's death can arguably be traced all the way back to 1981. In February 24 of that year, Buckingham Palace officially announced her engagement to Prince Charles, and the media fascination began.

This was demonstrated on the auction block, earlier this year. The dress described by many as 'the gown which made Diana famous,' worn for her first-ever official appearance with Prince Charles in 1981, was sold for £192,000 at London's Kerry Taylor Auctions.

The 'dress that made Diana famous'
back in 1981 was sold by Kerry
Taylor Auctions earlier this year
for £192,000

Perhaps unsurprisingly, evidence of Diana's legacy crops up fairly regularly on the collectibles markets - most recently with high-profile auctioning of items from the Spencer family estate.

Among the various high-profile treasures for sale was Rubens' powerful portrait, A Commander Being Armed For Battle. Dated to circa 1613-1614, the work once hung in Althorp, the Spencers' ancestral home. It sold for $13,663,898, over its lower estimate at Christie's.

Meanwhile the value of Diana's autograph has risen significantly over the past decade, by 580% according to the industry's PFC40 Autographs Index. In other words, if you'd bought a Diana signature for £1,250 in the year 2000, it could today be worth £8,500.

In fact, Princess Diana autographs can command values of anywhere up to £20,000. Bearing in mind what such a piece could be worth in 10 years, these values make Diana memorabilia purchases very exciting and viable for collectors and investors alike.


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