November 3, 2015 / 1:23 PM / 2 years ago

Margaret Thatcher's iconic handbags go to auction

LONDON (Reuters) - Handbags owned by late British leader Margaret Thatcher, whose apocryphal use of the accessory as a tactical weapon gave rise to the term “handbagging”, are to be auctioned off after a museum rejected them.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher walks past flags from some of the European nations as she heads toward the second day of meetings during a summit of European community leaders in Hanover, West Germany in this June 28, 1988 file photo. Handbags owned by late British leader Thatcher, whose apocryphal use of the accessory as a tactical weapon gave rise to the term "handbagging", are to be auctioned off after a museum rejected them. REUTERS/Michael Urban/Files

They are among 350 “historic and personal lots” - also including clothes, signed copies of speeches, her wedding dress and her red prime ministerial dispatch bag - that auctioneers Christie’s said on Tuesday would be offered at its London showroom on Dec 15 and later online.

The sale presented a unique opportunity to buy items from the estate of Britain’s longest-serving 20th century prime minister and the only woman so far to have held the office, Christie’s said, adding that value estimates ranged from 200 to 180,000 pounds.

It noted the term “handbagging” was coined in the 1980s with reference to Thatcher’s style in cabinet meetings, and defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as an action by a woman to “verbally attack or crush (a person or idea) ruthlessly and forcefully”.

The auction was announced after London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, Britain’s main repository of historic articles of clothing, said it did not deem the articles appropriate for its collection.

Reporting by Michael Roddy; editing by John Stonestreet

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