Margaret Thatcher’s Ministerial Box Sells for Highly Inflated Price of £242,500
The sale was nearly 50 times its high estimate.
A red ministerial box once belonging to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher blew to smithereens its conservative estimate of £3,000–5,000 ($4,508–7,514) at Christie’s London on December 15 when it sold for £242,500 ($364,455) to an unnamed buyer.
The elegant box, which is embossed with the words “H.M. Queen Elizabeth II” and “Prime Minister,” was used by Thatcher to carry confidential documents.
The auction of Thatcher’s personal belongings included approximately 150 items of the former prime minister, who died in 2013. A small silver bowl sold for £47,500 ($71,378), a signed photo for £13,000 ($19,535), and Thatcher’s midnight blue velvet wedding gown fetched £25,000 ($37,875). The final total was £3,280,475 ($4,929,553).
Many of the items in the auction revealed Thatcher’s “secret passion” for fashion—not a trait she was known for during her time in office.
“When she became the first woman prime minister, she used clothes as a way of emphasizing her power,” curator Meredith Etherington-Smith told the AFP.
“Every time there was a photo opportunity, she was beautifully dressed, immaculately coiffured, with a nice handbag, and she looked what she was: a powerful person.”
The Daily Mail, however, notes that Thatcher herself might have had a thing or two to say about the rampant price inflation on display at the auction.
“Why wasn’t there a national institution ready and willing to gather up all this for posterity,” the British newspaper asks, “instead of watching her handbags, hats, shoes, dresses and even her school prizes fought over by expats, tax exiles and overseas admirers from as far afield as Switzerland and California?”
This statement comes after controversy surrounding the decision by the Victoria & Albert Museum to turn down a chance to acquire the artifacts.
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