Thatcher's famous handbag hits the auctioneers

Margaret Thatcher's famous handbag - the symbol of her authority as Britain's prime minister - is being auctioned for charity, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.

"The handbag that terrorised ministers", as the broadsheet put it, is expected to fetch £100,000 ($165,000, 113,000 euros) when it goes under the hammer at Christie's on June 27.

The black Asprey bag was the one Thatcher used most frequently on important occasions, such as summits with US president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev during her 1979-1990 premiership.

The term "handbagging", in reference to Thatcher's assertive way of dealing with her cabinet ministers - or anyone else who crossed her path - first appeared in print in 1982.

Cartoonists would often portray Thatcher clobbering people with it.

Lord Kenneth Baker, who served in Thatcher's cabinets from 1985 to 1990, said: "It was her secret weapon. She would usually get from it some paper with a conclusive argument."

Thatcher often placed her handbag on the cabinet table as a symbol of her authority.

The handbag will be part of a charity sale of items donated by celebrities.