Swann Auction Galleries have revealed a catalog of Diana’s letters in which the preparations and her joy about the success of the sale are charted just before she died.
Princess Diana was astonished when her dresses earned $ 2 million (£ 1,535,400) at an auction shortly before her death in 1997.
Now a group of letters she wrote in preparation for the sale and describing her response to the success, as well as a signed catalog from the auction itself, will seize approximately $ 20,000 (£ 15,354) at Swann Auction Galleries this week . .
It appears that the then 14-year-old Prince William’s idea was for the princess to sell a selection of her dresses at an auction to raise money for charities for children and AIDS.
Princess of Wales was astonished when her dresses earned $ 2 million (£ 1,535,400) at an auction shortly before her death in 1997. In the photo, dressed in a sapphire and diamond necklace, a gift from the Sultan of Oman, and the Spencer Tiara with a dress designed by Victor Edelstein for a banquet in Bonn, Germany
In one letter the Princess of Wales thanks Liz Tilberis for the birthday gift of flowers, with astonishment at the amount of money earned at the auction
In the July 1997 letter, the Princess of Wales continued: “Ralph Lauren was on concorde and sat down next to me!” (Photo)
The first of the letters, written to her friend, Harper’s Bazaar editor Liz Tilberis, dates from October 15, 1996.
In it she writes: “I am so excited that you invited me to New York for the evening of December 9 [Costume Institute Gala] . . . . It goes without saying how proud I am of you. . . [O]Of course I stand by your side and I look forward to seeing you enormously. “
It continues on 25 February 1997:. . . [A] nice idea from Veronica’s, to hold a preview reception in June for the sale of my dresses! “. . .
The news from the auction came way too early and it will be announced next week by Christies! . . . ‘It has been quite an event to sort out the memories of the gowns and some excellent ones too! . . . “
The idea for the auction clearly caught the attention of the public and the media, while Diana wrote another letter to Tilberis on April 3, 1997: “. . . Christie’s are enormously organized in the field of cancer / AIDS and there appear to be articles appearing here, there & everywhere! . . . “
The Princess of Wales described her excitement while sorting through her dresses and wrote: “Memories flow back and some excellent ones too”
A signed and registered menu for the benefit dinner held by the British Deaf Association on July 18, 1990 is estimated at $ 400 to $ 600 (£ 307 – £ 460) at auction
The Elizabeth Tilberis paddle registration card for the Christie auction has been added to the lot.
The auction itself, entitled Dresses from the Collection of Diana, Princess of Wales, took place on June 25, 1997 in New York, and a signed catalog, numbered 58/250, is part of the offer at Swann Galleries with an individual estimate of $ 5,000 (£ 3, 838) to $ 7,500 (£ 5, 757).
Diana’s joy about the success of the auction can be clearly seen in the letter she wrote on her birthday, July 1, two months before her death. In it she thanks Tilberis for the birthday gift of flowers, with astonishment at the amount earned at the auction:
“Thank you so much for thinking of me on my birthday. . . . ‘It was amazing how much the auction made last week. How typical for the Americans to be so generous. I can always trust it! “
The idea of auctioning a selection of Princess Diana’s evening wear was suggested by her son, Prince William.
She decided to turn her dresses into funds to help the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund and the AIDS Crisis Trust.
A Christmas card with a picture of Princess William and Harry with their cousins, the princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, is estimated at a value of $ 400 to $ 600 (£ 307 – £ 460)
For many, selling the dresses was the transition from the princess to a new phase of life; tragically, she died two months later.
Other lots related to Princess Diana will also be offered at the ‘Fine Books & Manuscripts’ auction of Swann Galleries on February 20.
These include a much earlier letter to Tilberis, dated October 31, 1991, regarding her appearance on the cover of the Vogue magazine, which is estimated to be reached $ 1,500 to $ 2,000 (£ 1, 151 – £ 1, 535), a Christmas card with photo of Princess William and Harry with their cousins, the princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, estimate $ 400 to $ 600 (£ 307 – £ 460 ).
Meanwhile, a signed and registered menu for the benefit dinner held by the British Deaf Association on July 18, 1990, is intended to raise $ 400 to $ 600 (£ 307 – £ 460).
Liz Tilberis herself lived not long after her boyfriend’s death and died of ovarian cancer in April 1999 at the age of 51.
Live online bidding is available via the website www.swanngalleries.com and via the Swann Galleries App, which means that bidders from all over the world have direct access to the sale.