Christie’s to Sell Margaret Thatcher’s Personal Items after V&A Rejection

Thatcher's clothes were not fashionable enough for the V&A museum.

Margaret Thatcher.
Image: Courtesy www.thatchercentre.com.
Prime Minister Thatcher pictured with her red dispatch box, included in the sale. Photo: Herbie Knott/REX Shutterstock

Former Prime Minister Thatcher pictured with her red dispatch box, included in the sale.
Photo: Herbie Knott/REX Shutterstock

The auction house Christie’s London will sell a selection of personal items from the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, after the Victoria & Albert Museum in London declined an offer to exhibit her collection of clothes.

“The museum is responsible for chronicling fashionable dress and its collecting policy tends to focus on acquiring examples of outstanding aesthetic or technical quality,” and not on items with “intrinsic social historical value,” the V&A said in a statement, quoted in the Guardian.

Thatcher’s dresses, jewelry, handbags, and political memorabilia, thus, will go under the hammer next month without having been exhibited at the prestigious London museum.

Thatcher's classic navy blue leather handbag by Launer, London. Photo: Christie's via The Telegraph

Thatcher’s classic navy blue leather handbag by Launer, London.
Photo: Christie’s.

Christie’s will offer 350 items, split into two separate sales. A live sale offering 150 lots will take place on December 15 at the headquarters of Christie’s London. Meanwhile, an online auction, focusing on items starting from £200, will open for bids on December 3 and run for two weeks, until December 16.

“These auctions present unique opportunities, across price levels, for collectors around the world to acquire property from the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 20th century and the only woman to have held Office to date,” Christie’s said in a press release. “Estimates range from £200 up to £180,000.”

Margaret Thatcher's raincoat worn whilst driving a tank. Photo: REX Shutterstock via The Telegraph

Margaret Thatcher’s raincoat worn whilst driving a tank.
Photo: REX Shutterstock via The Telegraph

Highlights from Thatcher’s wardrobe include her famous blue Aquascutum “power suit,” with a presale estimate between £2,000-3,000 ($3,052-4,623), a beige Aquascutum trench coat worn while driving a tank during a memorable photo call in 1986, with a presale estimate between £10,000-20,000 ($15,410-30,821), and a houndstooth cloak worn during a state visit to the US with Ronald Reagan, with a presale estimate between £800-1,200 ($1,232-1,849).

Pieces from Thatcher’s jewelry collection include the sale’s most valuable lot, an emerald and diamond Chaumet necklace, with a presale estimate between £120,000-180,000 ($184,929-277,394), and a diamond brooch, with a presale estimate between £8,000-10,000 ($12,328-15,410).

Prime Ministerial Dispatch Box, embossed with the royal crest of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and inscribed ‘Prime Minister. Photo: Christie's via The Telegraph

Prime Ministerial Dispatch Box, embossed with the royal crest of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and inscribed ‘Prime Minister.
Photo: Christie’s.

Collectors of political memorabilia can look forward to Thatcher’s red Prime Ministerial dispatch box, with a presale estimate between £3,000-5,000 ($4,623-7,705), and a signed copy of her final speech as Prime Minister, with a presale estimate between £500-800 ($770-1,232).

You can watch a video detailing the items included in the sale here.

Next February, Christie’s London will also auction the fantastic art and furniture collection of another British celebrity, the pop star Sting.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
  • Access the data behind the headlines with the artnet Price Database.

Share

Article topics