Newcastle City Council is “reluctantly” selling the Lord Mayor's official coach to help plug a funding deficit of £90m over the next three years.
The 214-year-old coach, used every summer for the Mayor's annual garden party, is valued at £80,000.
"As a council we have a duty to help families who are suffering. In order to do that, we now have to sell off the family silver," said council leader Nick Forbes. "It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to sell off the Lord Mayor's coach to the highest bidder – but our financial situation leaves us with no room for sentimentality.
"We have endured two years of Government cuts with another three to come. We are looking at all ways of raising money." The proceeds are being earmarked for investment in the city's highways and schools.
The coach was created especially for the Lord Mayor in 1798, and features the city's coat of arms on its door. The former Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan, rode it in 1979 but it took £8,000 to repair the vehicle in 1984 and it spends most of its time in storage.