Margaret Thatcher Auction
On the 15th December, Christie’s of London presented Mrs Thatcher: Property from the Collection of The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, LG, OM, FRS, as a rare auction for collectors to acquire property that belonged to the Iron Lady herself, Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979-1990), is known worldwide for her time in office. In this auction, Christies had a wide variety of items from Thatcher’s personal and public life, from her clothes and handbags (including her wedding dress) to speech notes, letters and even her red leather Prime Ministerial Dispatch Box. Christie’s estimated that items would fetch between £200 and £180,000, but some items far exceeded these estimates.
Christie’s estimated her dispatch box would fetch £3000-5000, but the bidding continued to rise until the box was eventually sold to a round of applause at £242,500. Her collection of writings from Winston Churchill also sold for 10 times their estimate at £32,500. The Kaiser bisque model of an American bald eagle, a gift from former US President Ronald Reagan, was estimated at £8000, but eventually sold for £266,500. A signed typescript of her famous speech that recited the words of St Francis of Assisi, sold for £37,500 and her 1951 blue velvet wedding dress (estimated £10-15,000) was sold for £25,000.
The total collection that numbered over 400 pieces to be sold across two auctions was originally only estimated to be a value of £500,000. Yet, the 186 lots of the first part of the auction sold themselves for £3,280,475. The sale itself lasted 7 hours, as enthusiastic bidders attended the sale room itself or joined online or via agents on the telephone. With bids from Singapore, Australia, the USA, Bermuda and various locations in Europe, Lady Thatcher’s property is now scattered across the globe.
Margaret Thatcher’s legacy is great, with her political views and time in office renowned worldwide. This auction clearly illustrates the massive impact that ‘The Iron Lady’ has had, and also how much the world’s population are keen to own a little bit of pivotal history.