Thatcher's famous handbag sells for £25,000

Margaret Thatcher's famous handbag which struck fear into the hearts of British ministers during the former premier's rule sold at a charity auction for £25,000 ($40,350, 28,000 euros) Monday.

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

The former leader dubbed the "Iron Lady" donated the bag to her Conservative Party's ex-lawmaker and author Jeffrey Archer for a charity auction held at Christie's in London.

Proceeds from the bag's sale will go to armed forces charities Combat Stress and The British Forces Foundation and to Debra, a charity helping sufferers of the genetic skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa.

Cartoonists often portrayed Thatcher clobbering opponents with the blunt instrument while Lord Kenneth Baker, who served in Thatcher's cabinets from 1985 to 1990, called the bag her "secret weapon".

Thatcher often placed her handbag on the cabinet table as a symbol of her authority and "would usually get from it some paper with a conclusive argument," Baker recalled.

Archer's auction realized £402,100 in total, with the stopwatch which timed British runner Roger Bannister's first four minute mile going for £97,250, the evening's top price.

Other celebrity donors included guitarist Eric Clapton, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and former England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio.

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