Dallas, TX — The original white suit belonging to KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders has sold at auction for nearly $22,000.
The winning bid for the trademark white outfit was submitted by Japanese KFC exec Masao “Charlie” Watanabe who promptly tried it one for size. The president and chief executive of Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan also purchased some additional Sanders memorabilia (including Sanders’ circa 1973 driver’s license) at the in-person and online auction handled by Heritage Auctions of Dallas, Texas. Watanabe happened to be in Texas on business when he got wind of the Saturday auction.
Watanabe intends to publicly display the original Sanders iconic wardrobe according to NBC News. “Sanders is a popular figure in Japan, and most KFC restaurants there have statues of him in front… He plans to display the suit at a restaurant in Tokyo.”
Sanders originally started cooking chicken professionally in 1930, but it wasn’t until 1952 when he started franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Sanders was “commissioned” as an honorary Kentucky Colonel in 1935 by the state’s governor.
Before the bidding closed, Heritage Auctions described what was on the block: “Whether you’re thinking ‘fried chicken’ or ‘Kentucky Colonel,’ the name that comes to mind is Colonel Harland Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, or KFC. He is an American cultural icon who left an indelible mark on the American landscape and whose reach is worldwide. We offer a variety of items obtained from the Colonel by a youthful neighbor and friend, whose family became close to the Colonel towards the end of his life. The featured item, sure to attract the most interest, is the Colonel’s trademark suit and string bow-tie.”
Also selling at the same auction were the leg irons used on abolitionist John Brown after the raid on Harper’s Ferry, which sold for about $13,000. Selling for $16,000 was gunbelt belonging to outlaw Jesse James.
Sanders died in 1980 at age 90.
[Top image credit: MightyAtom]