Gifts given to Margaret Thatcher rescued from skip and put up for auction
A set of forgotten gifts to Margaret Thatcher is set to be auctioned after being rescued from a skip.
The collection, which includes an oil painting of the former prime minister as well as a bronze bust of Ronald Reagan, the former US president, as well as a photograph of the “Iron Lady” posing with three members of the SAS in the wake of the Iranian Embassy Siege, had been locked away and forgotten about in a storage unit.
The general practice for storage units is to send any unwanted items to landfill but the vendor’s father had worked at the tip in the early 2000s and brought the collection home to keep it safe. When he died he passed the collection on to his son.
The gifts include an unsigned oil painting of Mrs Thatcher wearing a blue dress and seated in a green armchair, which comes with a brass plaque reading: “From a true friend and admirer with sincere best wishes on your birthday, 13th October 1995.”
The message is signed by Professor Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, who would go on to become prime minister of Indonesia. The painting is expected to sell for £700 when it goes under the hammer.
The black and white photograph was given to Mrs Thatcher by the 22nd SAS Regiment after the successful storming of the Iranian Embassy in 1980. It shows her flanked by three elite soldiers in gas masks holding assault rifles.
It is inscribed with ‘To Mrs Thatcher from 22 SAS Regt’ and is tipped to sell for £600.
A close relationship
Another unusual item in the collection is a large bronze plaster bust of Mr Reagan, whom Mrs Thatcher formed a close relationship with during her time in office.
It was thought to have been presented to her during a state visit to the US in June 1982 at the end of the Falklands War.
All of the items will be up for sale at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers of Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex, as part of its Out of the Ordinary sale.
Auctioneer Mark Wilkinson said: “The exact circumstances of how these items came to be thrown away are unknown - although it is typical for storage companies to dispose of the contents of units when accounts are closed.
“There are some historic objects in the collection, items that point towards some of the important relationships and events in Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as the PM.”