Auction of Thatcher possessions raises £3.3 mn

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Baku, December 16, AZERTAC

The sale of late British leader Margaret Thatcher's possessions has raised £3.3 million (4.5 million euros, $5 million), auction house Christie's said on Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.

A model of an American bald eagle given to Thatcher by close ally and former US president Ronald Reagan fetched the highest price for an individual item at £266,500 after a flurry of bidding in person, online and by phone.

The model, with the message "with best wishes from Ronald Reagan", was sold to an online buyer and had been given a top estimated sale price of £8,000 at the London auction.

The former British prime minister's famous red ministerial box was the next most expensive item, selling for £242,500.

Initially expected to sell for between £3,000 and £5,000, auctioneer Jussi Pykkanen finalised the sale to an unidentified buyer with a bang of his hammer, to applause from the audience.

The box, in which the late Conservative leader would carry confidential documents, is one of the most iconic of around 200 of Thatcher's personal belongings offered for sale by Christie's.

Many have been advertised online since December 3, with the sale due to end at 1500 GMT Wednesday.

Items which belonged to the "Iron Lady", Britain's first female prime minister, have often sold better than the clothes she wore.

A sheet featuring a typed prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi and signed by Thatcher, which she quoted on first arriving in Downing Street in 1979, sold for £37,500, despite an initial estimate of between £600 and £900.

Her blue velvet wedding dress, valued at between £10,000 and £15,000, went for £25,000 to a buyer in Oman.

Some 200 buyers followed the sale online and many others by telephone, including prospective bidders from Austria, South Korea, Australia and the United States.

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