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Clapton Guitar, Thatcher Handbag Boost $643,000 Charity Auction

Leather Handbag
A black leather handbag belonging to the U.K.'s former prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Made by Asprey, it was sold in a charity auction organized by the best-selling author Jeffrey Archer, and hosted by Christie's International London on June 27. Source: Christie's via Bloomberg

June 27 (Bloomberg) -- An Eric Clapton guitar, a Margaret Thatcher handbag and an Andy Warhol drawing of the late Princess of Wales sold tonight in a charity auction by author Jeffrey Archer that raised about 402,100 pounds ($643,000).

The top lot in the Christie’s International London event was an Omega stopwatch used by a timekeeper in May 1954 when Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes. It sold for 97,250 pounds.

The Asprey black leather bag was used by Thatcher, the U.K.’s former Prime Minister, when visiting U.S. President Ronald Reagan at Camp David in 1985. It had been owned by the “Iron Lady” for more than 30 years. Her trademark fashion accessory was donated to the sale with an estimate of 75,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds. It fetched 25,000 pounds, and was bought by a private collector from Cyprus, bidding by telephone.

Archer, 70, the writer of novels such as “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less,” was on the rostrum for the sale of 18 items, wielding a diamond-encrusted gavel donated by the jeweler Laurence Graff.

The Warhol work fetched 79,250 pounds.

Clapton gave a signed Fender Telecaster guitar which sold for 15,000 pounds against an estimate of 20,000 pounds to 30,000 pounds.

Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of Formula One Management, donated two VIP passes to next year’s Monaco Grand Prix. They fetched 34,850 pounds, against an estimate of 75,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds.

Oxford, Cambridge

All proceeds from the auction will benefit a range of charities that include Oxfam, the British Red Cross and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, chaired by the author’s wife Mary Archer. The watch’s proceeds are being donated to the Oxford University Athletics Club.

Tomorrow, Christie’s South Kensington will host an auction of 150 works of art from Archer’s personal collection, as well as pieces from the recently closed Neffe Degandt Gallery, Mayfair, with whom the author had a business partnership, said Christie’s.

Highlights of the auction will include the 1878 Claude Monet painting, “La Seine pres de Vetheuil, temps orageux,” which has a revised estimate of 1.2 million pounds to 1.7 million pounds, and a Warhol “Marilyn” silkscreen at 100,000 pounds to 150,000 pounds.

(Scott Reyburn writes about the art market for Muse, the arts and culture section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Scott Reyburn in London at sreyburn@hotmail.com.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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