In 1994, a shopper browsing the bargain racks at a thrift store in Hereford, England made the find of a lifetime, and decades later her luck is paying off.
The unnamed woman picked out an ivory silk dress with full sleeves from the used clothing shop where she worked part time, and paid just £200 for it (or about $490 in today’s money).
She was shopping for a gown to wear at a local event, but never actually attended the soiree. Instead, the dress hung unused in her closet for years, until she saw it again on television.
Documentary footage showed the dress at a 1986 event in Bahrain, and the woman wearing it was none other than Princess Diana.
The customer had always known that the dress was once owned by the princess, but the fact that she wore it out in public, along with the sad significance of her untimely death in 1997, made all the difference.
A little digging revealed the dress had been donated to the shop by the housekeeper of Caroline Twiston-Davies, who was one of Diana’s close friends.
Diana sported the dress during her tour of the Gulf States in the 1986, and, like all things the late princess touched, that made the dress extremely valuable.
Now, more than two decades after the lucky shopper picked up the dress, it has been put up for auction by a London dealer, and is expected to sell for up to £100,000 (around $127,000).
This definitely qualifies this dress as the bargain of a lifetime, netting the savvy shopper about 500 times what she paid for it.
"Although there are millions of Princess Diana fans, there are relatively few people with the funds to afford a gown like this," said auctioneer Kerry Taylor.
"However," he added, "it is a very important dress and we expect fierce bidding on the day. It is in perfect condition and is a unique one off piece."
The dress also has a special backstory that makes it stand out from the rest of the princess’ famous wardrobe.
It was made by designer David Emanuel to cover as much of Diana's body as possible, following the strict rules of modesty enforced by the countries she visited on the tour.
Emanuel had a significant connection to the princess, since he also designed her 1981 wedding gown. Hand & Lock, the designers who embroidered her bridal veil, also stitched the crystals into her Bahrain dress.
The piece will be auctioned off on December 10, but won't set any records despite its hefty price tag.
Marilyn Monroe’s famous body-hugging, diamond-covered dress, which she wore while serenading President Kennedy before his birthday in 1962, remains the world’s highest selling dress after being sold at auction for $4.8 million in 2016.