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Thatcher's Handbag up for Auction: Dress to Impress!
10 Feb 2023

Mrs Thatcher was famous the world over for her sharp-cornered handbags - and now, one is to go under the hammer at Halls in Shrewsbury on March 22. 

Vogue magazine deemed the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher’s handbags her ‘most important piece of weaponry’ during her estimable 11-year premiership of the United Kingdom.

Along with her pearls, the boxy-looking bags became something of a signature trope for the former British Prime Minister. Now you have a chance to own a very fine Chaumet grey shagreen handbag once belonging to the Iron Lady herself!

The bag, which has an 18ct gold and sapphire clasp, and fancy gold shoulder strap, will go under the hammer at the upcoming Halls Fine Arts, Antiques and Jewellery Auction on March 22 at 10am. 

Mrs Thatcher's Chaumet Handbag

The vendor won it as a prize in a Daily Mail newspaper competition in 2016. The bag is made by Chaumet of Paris, and comes in its original leather-bound case, inscribed in Margaret Thatcher’s own hand ‘Grey “Dress” bag’. It is thought she may have carried it at formal evening occasions . 

The Daily Mail newspaper purchased five of Baroness Thatcher’s handbags and three of her headscarves at two property auctions held at Christie’s in London the previous year, to be offered as competition prizes. The eight lots acquired by the Daily Mail at the auction - Mrs Thatcher - Property From The Collection Of The Right Honourable The Baroness Thatcher Of Kesteven - totalled some £50,000. Also sold at the time were some of the former Mrs Thatcher’s complete outfits, jewellery and other possessions, along with her ministerial dispatch box. According to the lot description for the former Christie’s auction, a specialist from the Natural History Museum had confirmed the Chaumet bag to be made of simulated ray skin.

Alexander Clement, a Senior General Valuer at Halls, said it was an ‘extraordinary’ item, adding: “Margaret Thatcher's handbag was an icon of the late 80s and its fame even made it into the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, which defines the verb "to handbag" as: (of a woman politician), treat (a person, idea etc) ruthlessly or insensitively.

"Lady Thatcher herself once told an interviewer: 'Of course, I am obstinate in defending our liberties and our law. That is why I carry a big handbag.' Obviously we are thrilled to have consigned one of Mrs Thatcher's beautiful handbags for sale at our forthcoming auction in Shrewsbury.” 

  •  Baroness Margaret Thatcher's Chaumet bag is estimated to fetch £4,000 to £6,000 at Halls Fine Art, Antiques and Jewellery Auction on March 22. For details of viewings and the full auction catalogue click HERE