Dress for the price of an apartment: 10 most expensive fashion items sold at auctions

From today on the website of the Sotheby’s auction house you can vie for Nike sneakers created especially for Barack Obama, which are estimated at $25 thousand on this occasion tell us about other expensive fashion lots, previously sold by auction

Kate Middleton’s dress from the show at St. Andrews University

Auction: Kerry Taylor Auctions
Year of Sale: 2011
Estimated value: £8-10 thousand ($12,990 – $16,200)
Final price: £78,000 ($126,000)

While studying at St Andrews University in 2002, Kate Middleton took part in a charity fashion show, walking down the catwalk in a see-through dress worn over black underwear. The designer, Charlotte Todd, had originally envisioned it as a skirt, which she planned to sell for £30. The situation changed with the presence of Prince William in the front row, who was rumored to have fallen in love with his wife-to-be at the time.

The dress was put up for sale at a British auction by Kerry Taylor a month before the wedding of the Dukes of Cambridge and went under the hammer, exceeding its original price by 2,600 times and the estimated price (taking into account all the events that occurred after the show)—by ten times. The lot was won by a representative of a Nick from Jersey, who considered the thing not so much fashionable as historical.

kate middleton dress

Ronald Reagan’s cowboy boots

Auction: Christie’s
Year of sale: 2016
Estimated value: $10-20 thousand.
Final price: $199,000.

In 2016, the auction house Christie’s put up for sale a collection of personal belongings of the family of the 40th president of the United States Ronald Reagan. One of the most expensive lots, which exceeded the estimated value tenfold, were the cowboy boots by the Texas brand Tony Lama, made of frogskin with a 14-carat gold treatment. It was a gift from actor Rex Allen, whose shoes Reagan envied during the 1980 campaign. Allen promised his buddy a similar pair, but with a presidential seal, when Reagan won the election and moved into the White House.

ronald reagan boots

Princess Diana’s dress from the White House Ball

Auction: Kerry Taylor Auctions
Year of Sale: 2019
Estimated value: £350k ($462k)
Final price: £264,000 ($347,000)

Another valuable fashion item associated with the Reagan presidency is Princess Diana’s blue dress by the British designer Victor Edelstein, which she danced in with John Travolta at a White House reception in 1985. Subsequently, the princess wore “Travolta dress” several more times and shortly before her death in 1997 ordered to sell it together with her other dresses to donate the money to charity.

It went to Florida businesswoman Maureen Dunkel, who paid a record-breaking £100,000 for it. In 2011, Dunkel auctioned the dress to save herself from bankruptcy, but it took two years to find a buyer. It was a “British gentleman” who wanted to “cheer up his wife with a surprise,” not sparing £240 thousand. The Travolta dress’s journey through the auctions did not end there: in 2019, it went under the hammer again, but much cheaper than the appraised value. The dress now belongs to Historic Royal Palaces, a charity that takes care of royal memorabilia, including clothing and artifacts.

princess diana dress

Kelly Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourne bag, Hermès

Auction: Chirstie’s
Year of Sale: 2020
Estimated value: $103,663
Final price: $437,330

The most expensive bag ever sold at auction is the Kelly Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Retourne by Hermès in crocodile leather with palladium details. The bag had nothing in common with the Himalayas: the only reminder of the mountain range was a gradient beige and brown color, the creation of which took several hours of painstaking handwork. Another Hermès model, the Diamond Himalaya Birkin, had the same coloring and for a long time was a record-setter at auctions. Interest in the bags was fueled by rumors of the discontinuation of the Himalaya series, for each piece of which a waiting list of six years is drawn up.

hermes bag

1972 Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” Sneakers, Nike

Auction: Sotheby’s
Year of sale: 2019
Estimated value: $110,000-160,000.
Final price: $437,500

Slightly more expensive than the new crocodile bag were the yellowed sneakers, which had grown old. It was the only unworn of the 12 pairs designed by Nike cofounder Bill Bauerman for runners at the 1972 Olympics. In addition, the Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” was the prototype of the waffle sole, which provided reliable grip for the foot and was later used in other sneakers of the brand. Canadian entrepreneur Miles Nadal was so eager to add the pair to his private museum collection that he shelled out three times the estimated value and twice the previous “shoe” record for it. In 2017, Converse sneakers owned by basketball player Michael Jordan went under the hammer for $190,373.


Air Jordan 1, Nike sneakers signed by Michael Jordan

Auction: Sotheby’s
Year of sale: 2020
Estimated value: $ 100-150 thousand.
Final price: $ 560 thousand.

One year after the sale of Bill Bauerman’s sneakers for Nike, Michael Jordan’s shoes regained the top spot at auction. The Air Jordan 1, which the basketball player wore in his 1984/85 NBA debut season and autographed, sold for a record-breaking $0.5 million, exceeding the estimate price five-fold. Ten buyers between the ages of 19 and 50 from six countries on four continents competed for it. Who eventually got the pair, whose previous owner was collector and founder of the Shoezeum sneaker museum Jordan Geller, is unknown.

michael jordan's shoes

Judy Garland dress from The Wizard of Oz

Auction: Bonhams
Year of sale: 2015
Estimated value: $800,000 to $1.2 million
Final price: $1,565,000

A seemingly ordinary white and blue checked sundress and cream-colored stand-up collar blouse sold at a 2015 Bonhams auction for the price of diamond jewelry or a collectible painting. All thanks to a label bearing the name of Oscar-winning actress Judy Garland, who appeared in this set in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” By the way, it’s not the only item from the film adaptation of the children’s fairy tale that went under the hammer for six figures. The costume of the Cowardly Lion, played by Burt Lahr, was bought by someone for about $3 million.

judie garland's dress

Michael Jackson jacket from the Thriller video

Auction: Julien’s Auctions
Year of Sale: 2011
Estimated value: $200-400 thousand.
Final price: $1,810,000

Michael Jackson jackets are selling like hotcakes at auctions. For example, one of them—with a contrasting red inlay and trimmed with rhinestones and stones—belongs to the seven-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. The cost of things, however, is 27 times less than the most expensive lot from the closet of the pop king. We are talking about a jacket designed by costume designer Deborah Nadulman Landis for the filming of the music video Thriller in 1983. It was purchased for $1.8 million by entrepreneur Milton Verrett, who called the thing “the greatest rock’n’roll monument in history.” Part of the proceeds from the sale of the jacket was sent to the Shambala Preserve in California, where Michael Jackson’s two Bengal tigers were kept.

michael jackson's jacket

Napoleon Bonaparte’s bicorne, which he wore at the battle of

Auction: Osenat
Year of sale: 2014
Estimated value: €300-400 thousand.
Final price: €1,900,000 ($2,400,000)

Nineteen of Napoleon Bonaparte’s hats have survived to this day and are held either in state museums or by private collectors. One of them fell into the hands of cavalryman Joseph Giraud after the Battle of Marengo and belonged to his family until it was sold in 1926 to Prince Louis II of Monaco, a collector of historical artifacts. In 2014, the current ruler of the principality, Albert II, decided to sell the headpiece to raise money for the reconstruction of the Palace of Monaco. The auction was held by the auction house Osenat in the French commune of Fontainebleau, where the manager of the largest South Korean agribusiness corporation Harim flew in from Seoul at the request of his boss. Tae Kyung Lee bought the Napoleon hat for $2.4 million in order to display it in the lobby of the company’s new headquarters. “It symbolizes something for new generations,” he commented.

napoleon's hat bicorne

Marilyn Monroe dress from John F. Kennedy’s birthday party

Auction: Julien’s Auctions
Year of Sale: 2016
Estimated value: $2-3 million
Final price: $4,810,000

Two of the most expensive dresses in the world belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The first, in which she stood on the subway grille in the movie “The Seven Year Itch,” was sold in 2011 for $4.6 million, not including commissions. The second, in which Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” for U.S. President John F. Kennedy, went under the hammer five years later for $4.8 million. Interestingly, the outfit from Monroe’s performance at Madison Square Garden has set a record twice: in 1999 the auction house Christie’s sold it for $1.2 million, which was three times the price of “Travolta dress” by Princess Diana.

The buyers (for the second time they were the Believe it or not! Museum chain) were attracted not so much by the beauty of the dress, embroidered with crystals in an amount of 2.5 thousand pieces and creating a feeling of a naked body, as by the significance of the very moment when Monroe appeared in it. In 1962, journalists, who had already spread rumors of an affair between the actress and the president, wrote that during the song, “it seemed like Marilyn was making love to the President in front of 40 million” John F. Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline, who suspected of a possible provocation by her rival, did not come to the celebration of her husband’s birthday, which drew even more attention to the incident.

monroe's dress

If you click links in this post to buy something, we may earn a commission. Thanks.

Must Read

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here