UK

Margaret Thatcher auction items raise more than £4.5m

A Kaiser biscuit model of an American bald eagle gifted to Margaret Thatcher by Ronald Reagan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The bald eagle model was bought by an online buyer for £266,500 after it was expected to fetch a maximum bid of £8,000

An auction selling items belonging to Margaret Thatcher has smashed expectations raising more than £4.5m.

The total raised at a six-hour live sale at Christie's auctioneers on Tuesday was boosted by an online auction which ended on Wednesday.

The top selling lot was a model of an American bald eagle awarded to the late PM by Ronald Reagan for £266,500.

Baroness Thatcher died on 8 April 2013 at the age of 87 having held office from 1979 to 1990.

Her collection attracted buyers from more than 40 countries with auction bids "far exceeding pre-sale expectations", Christie's said.

The Iron Lady: A political life

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Items in the sale included clothes, jewellery and personal items as well as official letters and notes from the late PM

A red Morocco dispatch box embossed with the cipher of HM Queen Elizabeth II, the words "Prime Minister" and numbered I, was sold for £242,500 while the top lot in the online sale was a pearl necklace - Baroness Thatcher's signature item of jewellery - which sold for £62,500 after a maximum estimated price of £800.

A Raflo handbag that she used on her last visit to 10 Downing Street was bought for £47,500 while a signed typescript of her famous speech reciting the words of St Francis of Assisi, "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony," sold for £37,500.

The sale took place 25 years after Baroness Thatcher left office and in the year when she would have celebrated her 90th birthday.

Image caption Her blue velvet wedding dress with matching hat and muff sold for £25,000

As well as many of her clothes, a collection of writings from Winston Churchill also proved popular with bidders - smashing their estimates - as did personal letters from President Reagan, including one to congratulate her on 11 years in power, and one wishing a belated happy birthday to her husband.

Head of sale, Adrian Hume-Sayer, said: "The market's response to these historic sales, both the online-only sale and the traditional auction, was remarkable, with the overall result for the Mrs Thatcher collection far exceeding pre-sale expectations.

"Clients from all over the world seized this once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire items which gave insights into both the public and private life of Britain's first female prime minister, who was a political giant on the world stage."

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