London - A handbag belonging to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sold for £25 000 at a charity auction late on Monday, Christie’s said.
Best-selling author and former Conservative politician Jeffrey Archer was wielding the gavel at the auctioneer’s London showrooms at a sale where proceeds went to the charity chosen by each contributing sportsman, politician or musician.
Top price on the night was paid for the chief timekeeper’s stop watch that recorded Roger Bannister’s first four-minute mile in 1954.
Donated by Archer himself, it fetched £97 250 and proceeds will go to the Oxford University Athletics Club.
Archer had said before the sale that he expected Thatcher’s handbag, which she owned for over 30 years, to sell for around £100 000, but in the end it fetched a quarter of the amount.
It was pictured with the former prime minister alongside US President Ronald Reagan during her visit to the United States in 1985, and the money raised will go to Combat Stress, The British Forces Foundation and Debra.
A signed Fender Telecaster guitar donated by Eric Clapton fetched £15 000 and a hospitality package to next year’s Monaco Grand Prix, given by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, sold for £34 850.
Overall the sale raised £402 100, short of what Archer had hoped for. The amateur auctioneer had aimed to beat his own single sale record and make a million pounds.
Later on Tuesday at Christie’s, Archer will sell off some of his art collection, including an 1878 painting by Claude Monet valued at £1.2m to £1.7m.
“It’s a very good time (to sell),” Archer told Reuters before the sale. “The Chinese and Russians are collecting for the first time. I’m selling 10% of my collection - at the age of 70 I decided I wouldn’t live forever!"
The collection is expected to fetch around £5m.