Margaret Thatcher‘s black Asprey handbag is expected to reach over £100,000 when it hits the auction block this month, not because it’s fancy or particularly expensive, but because the former British Prime Minister used it to carry important state documents around the world. She also used to let her male counterparts and underlings know that she wasn’t going to take any of their crap.
Baroness Thatcher (yes, she has a title now, look it up) is credited with the creation of the word handbagging, which people used to reference the gruff manner in which she dealt with people who pissed her off. The Daily Mail reports that while a number of men in Parliament joked about her handbag — once after she left her purse behind in a conference room, an MP joked that they could start the meeting because the handbag was there — they knew exactly how powerful the bag and the lady who wore it were.
The political novelist Michael Dobbs, former Tory chief of staff, said her handbag ‘was in part a portable filing cabinet, but was also used to remind people of her power’.
John Whittingdale, her political secretary from 1989 to 1992, said: ‘It was a prop. She would produce it very visibly at big meetings to show she meant business.’
Imagine a group of the world’s most powerful men quaking in their boots at the sight of a minimalistic handbag. To us, a vision like that is priceless — but we’ll be interested to see how much it gets over its listing price.