As I have written before, one of the most important factors in valuing items for auction is their historic associations. This especially true for film props and costumes and musical instruments. A guitar played by John Lennon or Paul McCartney would be valuable; a guitar owned by them even more so. However, a guitar used by either of them at one of their most famous concerts, such as the 1965 Shea Stadium event, or for recording their most famous hits, would be worth considerably more because of its iconic status. So it comes as no surprise that the auction record for a Beatles-associated instrument is the $2.1m that the late singer George Michael paid for the piano on which John Lennon wrote his solo hit Imagine.
I thought about all this when that a dress once worn by Princess Diana would be coming up for sale. In itself, this is not such a rarity; a number of gowns worn by her have sold at auction over the years, ranging in price from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of pounds.
However, apart from the famous wedding dress, I can’t think of a more iconic dress than the Victor Edelstein creation the Princess wore to a White House gala dinner in 1985. Why? Because she was wearing it when she made headlines all over the world at the event by dancing with the actor John Travolta to music from the film Grease.
The dress previously sold in 2013 for £240,000. The estimate this time? £350,000.
There’s iconic and ICONIC!