Auction Results

Mr Darcy’s wet shirt makes £25,000 at auction


Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the lake scene from Pride and Prejudice.
Image courtesy BBC.

Colin Firth, as Mr Darcy, wore this shirt as he dripped from a lake and into a TV nation’s hearts. Yesterday, March 5, it sold for £25,000 at auction, well over its estimates. 

Firth was the brooding romantic lead in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Jennifer Ehle led the cast as Elizabeth Bennet. 

In “the lake scene” – an invention of script writer Andrew Davies rather than Austen – Elizabeth surprises Darcy swimming on his estate. Davies reportedly thought the image would have a mildly comic effect, but Firth wore the shirt so well that he became a somewhat unlikely sex symbol. The scene has been parodied countless times. 

The shirt was sold among a collection of 60 TV and film costumes from Cosprop, the design company founded by John Bright, an Oscar-winning (for period drama A Room With a View) costume designer. 

The baggy, white shirt went under the hammer with a £7,000 to £10,000 estimate.

The shirt is one of three used in filming. Image courtesy Kerry Taylor Auctions.

In the event, it shot to £20,000, with a £5,000 premium taking it to £25,000.

Three shirts were used during filming. One has been previously sold, while the third remains in the company archives. 

TV drama was well represented in the sale, with outfits from Peaky Blinders, Downton Abbey, and Poldark on offer.  Most going for between £1,000 and £3,000.

The most valuable item was 1996 Madonna’s Evita ball gown. It made £40,000, excluding premium.

Johnny Depp’s black suit, worn as Ichabod Crane in the film Sleepy Hollow from 1999 realised £24,000.  

A dress worn by Dame Julie Andrews in the 1982 film Victor Victoria was sold for £16,000. A Drew Barrymore costume worn as Danielle in the 1998 film Ever After: A Cinderella Story made the same price. 

This costume from Ever After: A Cinderella Story is perhaps the most dramatic sold. It made £16,000. Image courtesy Kerry Taylor Auctions.

Johnny Depp’s ring master outfit from Finding Neverland closed at £5,500 and a costume worn by Kate Winslet in the same film was sold for £6,500. 

Proceeds of the sale went to supporting John Bright’s foundation, which provides art education for children. 

The highest prices in this sale show the magic of star names and iconic scenes.

The Darcy shirt was on screen for a short period of time but made a huge impact.

For comparison, a suit worn by Firth in The King’s Speech made £3,400. 

Madonna always sells. And almost anything with her name on it can make high prices. 

The Drew Barrymore dress is probably the most distinguished and spectacular piece in terms of costume design. 

Some buyers may think they have bargains. An Elizabeth Taylor gown sold for £2,600.

In time, it is likely that Margot Robbie will be considered an all-time great, yet someone walked away with a costume she wore for just £1,300. 

Most of the most valuable costumes in film history were worn by Marilyn Monroe. 

Though not a film costume, the dress she wore when she sang Happy Birthday to John F Kennedy in 1962 made nearly $5 million. Her white dress that billows up in The Seven Year Itch made $4.6 million in 2011. 

Audrey Hepburn’s gowns also make very high prices. Hundreds of thousands for standout items from Breakfast at Tiffany’s for example. Her My Fair Lady race track outfit made $4.5 million in 2011. 

Just Collecting