UK Politics

Margaret Thatcher suits go under the auction hammer at Christie's

Thatcher outfits to be sold at Christie's

A set of outfits worn by Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s are to be auctioned at Christie's on Monday.

The suits, all of which were worn by the former prime minister in the early part of her career, are thought to be the first of Lady Thatcher's clothes to be sold at a public auction.

A handbag carried by her when meeting US President Ronald Reagan raised £25,000 at a charity auction last year.

The seven outfits are being sold by a private collector.

The sale is taking place at Christie's as part of its "London Sale", a one-off themed auction being held to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and London 2012.

'One-off opportunity'

Lady Thatcher wore the light green suit the day she was confirmed as leader of the Conservatives

Items in the sale range from an original 1966 Routemaster bus, estimated to fetch between £20,000 and £30,000, vintage posters of London landmarks and a model of London Zoo's Guy the Gorilla - who became a TV celebrity during the 1960s and 70s.

All of Lady Thatcher's outfits have been given a guide price of between £1,000 and £1,500.

Pat Frost, Head of the Textiles Department at Christie's described the sale as a "one-off opportunity", adding she was not aware of any clothing items of Margaret Thatcher's being sold at a public auction before.

Unlike other known political figures such as Sir Winston Churchill, she said, it was impossible to tell how popular the items would be.

'Kudos'

In 2010, one of the largest collections of memorabilia relating to the WWII prime minister, including an unsmoked cigar, sold for nearly £600,000 at auction.

"There is an established market for Churchill - he stretches much further back - but she is the kind of person who has the same sort of kudos," Ms Frost said.

"These outfits were worn at the beginning of her career, when she got the 'milk snatcher' tag, and were part of important moments like her introduction as leader at the Conservative Party conference."

Lady Thatcher can be seen in the navy suit during a Valerie Singleton programme

The light green suit on sale was worn by Lady Thatcher the day she was confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party and the striking yellow dress with navy trim at her first party conference as leader in 1975.

A number of the suits were worn when she was an education minister during television or radio appearances.

The peach outfit, for example, was worn by the former prime minister in a BBC Analysis programme in 1971 in which she discussed the importance of cleansing and moisturising with Sue MacGregor.

She is seen wearing the navy suit in an episode of Val Meets the VIPs, with former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton, and she wore the green suit in a 1972 edition of Panorama called Women in Politics.

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