Shoes made for Thatcher go on sale on auction website
The online auction house eBay put on sale three pairs of shoes that were reportedly custom-made for Margaret Thatcher when she was prime minister.
The minimum bid for the Rayne shoes -- colored silver, gold and black suede -- is 2,930 pounds but owner Eleanor Graham, 65, said she expects to fetch some 10,000 pounds (18,150 dollars, 14,843 euros) on the auction website.
"I was just lucky - I was there at the right place at the right time when the shoes were brought in by her secretary," Graham said.
Graham said she convinced the store's cashier not to remove the label "Made Especially for Mrs Margaret Thatcher" from one pair by agreeing to re-sell the shoes only after the cashier had died so that she would not get sacked.
The size five shoes did not fit her, she said, so she only wore them a couple of times while she washed the dishes.
Graham said she then recently thought: "Gosh, I've had a couple of heart attacks and they'll get thrown out unless I do anything."
She then arranged for Flogit4u, a company that specializes in selling items on eBay, to post the items on the website for her.
Flogit4u's business development manager Neil Benardout said his job is to "sniff out charlatans" but he quickly became convinced the shoes once belonged to Baroness Thatcher, the icon of 1980s power-dressing.
The eBay posting also contains a copy of a 2001 letter from the former prime minister's office that confirms she did wear custom-made Rayne shoes.
Graham said the letter was a response to her request for permission in 2000 to resell the shoes.
However she added she regards any proceeds from the items a top-up on her pension, which got reduced under the Conservative government.
There have been no bids so far for the shoes, but Graham said she remains optimistic: a handbag that once belonged to Baroness Thatcher sold for over 100,000 pounds in a 2000 eBay charity auction.