ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (Reuters) - Fourteen dresses worn by Princess Diana will be sold at auction in Toronto on June 23, their Florida owner said on Friday.
The dresses were bought by Tampa businesswoman Maureen Dunkel for a total of $700,000 in 1997 as an investment eight weeks before Diana was killed in a Paris car crash.
After Diana’s death, Dunkel organized a non-profit foundation to take the dresses on tour and raise money for Diana’s charities.
The collection has been seen in several cities in the United States, Canada and New Zealand and was on display for 10 years at London’s Kensington Palace, where Diana lived after her divorce from Prince Charles, Dunkel said. Toronto was one of the tour’s most popular spots, she said.
“It has been an odyssey. Now is the time to wave goodbye,” Dunkel said in an interview.
She said she hoped someone would buy all the dresses and keep the collection together.
The dresses will be sold by Waddington’s auction house in Toronto starting at 7 p.m. June 23. Bids can be made in person or by telephone.
The most valuable dress in the collection is a blue velvet gown Diana wore to a 1985 White House dinner hosted by President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy. Waddington’s put its value at between $1 million and $1,250,000.
Other dresses range from $175,000 to $550,000. Pictures and estimated values of the dresses can be seen on Waddington’s website: www.waddingtons.ca.
Part of the proceeds of the sale will go to the National Ballet School of Canada.
The dresses are on display at the Design Exchange in Toronto until June 10. They will be on view at Waddington’s June 21 to June 23.
The sale will take place a week before Diana’s son Prince William and his wife Kate arrive in Canada for a week-long visit. They were married April 29 at Westminster Abbey.
Reporting by Robert Green; Editing by Jerry Norton