Europe

Romania sells Ceausescu luxuries from communist era

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Media captionExamples of some of the official gifts being put up for auction

A Romanian auction house has sold a leopard skin, silver doves and a bronze yak among gifts and memorabilia that belonged to the late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

The sale by Artmark was called "Golden Age", referring to the heroic portrayal of Ceausescu by the Communist Party.

The skin fetched 3,750 euros (£3,136) and the yak, given by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, 12,000 euros.

Ceausescu and his wife Elena were executed in a revolution in 1989.

Communist-era posters, medals, photos and flags, some dating back up to 70 years, also went under the hammer in the capital Bucharest on Thursday.

Two silver enamelled doves were a gift from the late Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

It was the first public auction of Ceausescu possessions in a decade.

Ceausescu held Romania in an iron grip as communist leader from 1965 to 1989.

Diana Dochia, a Romanian art gallery curator quoted by Reuters news agency, said few young Romanians "really know what happened then".

"Furthermore, the momentum grows to think it's 'cool' to discuss communism, but the truth is that it was not 'cool' at all," she said.

Ceausescu and his wife surrounded themselves with luxuries while most Romanians struggled with poverty, power cuts and constant surveillance by the secret police.

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