The late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher still dominates the British political scene and 25 years after she ruled the country and almost three years after her death, people can now own a slice of her history. Christie's auctioneers in London are selling more than 400 lots of Thatcher's clothes, jewellery and iconic handbags, along with some of her personal and political mementoes.
The sale, by her children and grandchildren, is timed to coincide with what would have been the political titan's 90th birthday. Highlights include her red leather Prime Ministerial despatch box, estimated to be worth £3,000-£5,000 ($4,563-$7,605) and her power dressing outfits, including her famous royal blue suit, estimated to be worth £2,000-£3,000. What stands out about the suits is the bold colours and crisp tailoring.
Meredith Etherington-Smith, co-curator of the sale, said: "What the clothes tell us about Margaret Thatcher as a woman, was that she was very feminine, she really liked clothes. She was also very clever and she realised when she became prime minister she had to look like she was running things. Which did not mean frills, it meant clear crisp outlines, bright colours, yes trimmings, but kept to a minimum."
Many of Thatcher's handbags, for which she was so famous, are also in the auction. The verb "handbagging" made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in reference to Thatcher's ministerial style in cabinet meetings. The dictionary defines handbagging as to "verbally attack or crush [a person or idea] ruthlessly and forcefully".
"The clothes quite honestly are a political tool, as indeed were the handbags, which struck terror into opponents," Etherington-Smith said. In one photograph on display at Christie's, Thatcher wears a bright green Aquascutum suit as she sits surrounded by her male cabinet dressed in grey. The dress is valued between £2,000-£3,000.
"What makes me laugh is the bright emerald green suit with the humbug striped lapels, and she is sitting in the middle of her cabinet and, to be perfectly honest, they all look like a grey cloud. You can't really tell one from the other and there she is, in the middle... I'm in charge, I'm the most visible," Etheringon-Smith said.
Also up for sale is Thatcher's dark blue velvet wedding gown, estimated to be worth £10,000-£15,000, and a black cocktail suit worn for her 70th birthday celebrations, estimated at £2,000-£3,000.
There is a statue of an American bald eagle, given to Thatcher by her close friend, American president Ronald Reagan, hand-written notes by the Iron Lady and a set of House of Commons whisky tumblers. The items are being sold in two auctions, one online and one at Christie's auctioneers in London on 15 December.