A black mourning dress worn by British Queen Victoria has sold with outstanding results as part of Hansons Auctioneers' June 30 auction in the UK.
The instantly recognisable dress made £4,400 ($6,691), rising above its £3,000 high estimate by 46.6%. The sale is testament to the collectability of Queen Victoria, who remains one of Britain's most iconic monarchs.
Also selling at Hansons was a letter written by Lord Nelson, which achieved similarly impressive results.
The dress dates to 1890 and had been on display at Kensington Palace until April 2013. It was formerly owned by a lady-in-waiting to the queen who lived at Osborne House in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight and has been passed down through her family.
Queen Victoria famously wore only black after the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861 after he contracted typhoid fever. She wrote to her daughter Victoria shortly afterwards:
"How I, who leant on him for all and everything—without whom I did nothing, moved not a finger, arranged not a print or photograph, didn't put on a gown or bonnet if he didn't approve it shall go on, to live, to move, to help myself in difficult moments?"
The silk bodice and skirt aren't the first of Queen Victoria's mourning outfits to appear at auction, with another example selling for £6,200 ($9,720) in July 2012, making a 210% increase on estimate. It included a bodice and skirt, as well as a mourning veil and a pair of silk bloomers.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has Queen Victoria's superb autograph on an appointment letter.