Margaret Thatcher Asprey handbag raises 'just' £25,000

Handbag owned by Margaret Thatcher. Picture supplied by Christie's Images Limited The famous Asprey handbag owned by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher

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A handbag once owned by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has raised £25,000 at a charity auction.

The Asprey handbag had been expected to attract up to £100,000 during sales at Christie's organised by ex-Conservative Party deputy chairman Jeffrey Archer.

Baroness Thatcher was famously pictured with the bag as she stood with then US President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

It was bought by an unnamed Cypriot, thought to have studied in Britain while the "Iron Lady" was in power.

The Proceeds of the sales will benefit Combat Stress, the British Forces Foundation and Debra, a skin condition charity.

The leather bag was owned by Baroness Thatcher for more than 30 years.

Edwina Currie, a former minister in Baroness Thatcher's government, said: "It wasn't a shield, it was a weapon.

Footage of Baroness Thatcher and her famous handbag

"It said, 'I am Margaret Thatcher, I'm the boss, I'm in charge. I have all this power and I have control'.

'Filing cabinet'

"That was why the handbag was always so neat and tidy and black and shiny and dominant. It would go on the Cabinet table.

"She used it as her filing cabinet and made herself notes during the day or at events and flourished them.

"She would open her handbag and she would have notes and thoughts about an event or questions about an issue, and you were not allowed to rummage in your own handbag, you had to have the answers in your head.

"She was allowed to use hers as an additional hard drive if you like."

The former prime minister was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in October 1925.

The sale that featured the handbag also included donations from Eric Clapton, Bernie Ecclestone, Lawrence Dallaglio, Sir Michael Parkinson and Sir Ian Botham.

Pieces from Jeffrey Archer's art collection have also been up for auction, including works by Sickert, Monet, Renoir, Rodin and Warhol.

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