Thatcher memorabilia up for auction at Christie’s

Margaret Thatcher in the tank wearing the raincoat which is coming up for sale at Christie's in London
Margaret Thatcher in the tank wearing the raincoat which is coming up for sale at Christie's in London

Nearly 200 possessions, owned by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher until her death in 2013, are set to fetch around £500,000 at an auction in London today.

The collection, coming up for sale at Christie’s, includes:

* Lady Thatcher’s art deco emerald and diamond necklace, which alone is expected to sell for between £120,000 and £180,000, making it one of the most valuable items in the auction;

* The burgundy wool twill suit, made by Aquascutum, which Lady Thatcher wore when she left 10 Downing Street for the last time as Prime Minister on November 28, 1990, which is set to fetch between £5,000 and £10,000;

* The fawn Gabardine raincoat, also made by Aquascutum, which she famously wore when she visited British troops at a NATO training camp in Germany and clambered onto a Challenger 1 Tank, which became one of the most iconic images ever taken of Lady Thatcher;

* ‘The Tank Raincoat’, as it became known, which is expected to sell for between £10,000 and £20,000;

* Her black quilted Christian Dior handbag (pre-sale estimates of £1,000 - £1,500);

* Her burr oak desk (est £2,000-£3,000).

Last month, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London was controversially reported to have rejected the chance to acquire Lady Thatcher’s clothes, defending their decision by saying that the museum only collects items of “outstanding aesthetic or technical quality” rather than those with “intrinsic social historical value”.

However, the chairman of the V&A was later quoted as having claimed that no offer had ever been made, and said that Carol Thatcher, Lady Thatcher’s daughter, had called him to apologise about the story, confirming that the family had never offered any items to the museum.

In an article for the Christie’s auction catalogue, Lord Charles Powell, who was Lady Thatcher’s private secretary between 1983 and 1990, refers to the burgundy suit. He said: “(She) left No 10 Downing Street after an unprecedented term of nearly 12 years as Prime Minister.

“It was a cruel ending for someone who changed Britain beyond recognition. But that’s politics.”