POLITICS: Tony Banks Political Art Auction Bags Pounds 300,000

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Byline: By Rachel O'Brien

The private art collection of the late Labour politician Tony Banks sold for nearly pounds 300,000 last night.

The auction at Bonhams in London crossed party political lines, with Tory MP and shadow foreign secretary William Hague successfully bidding pounds 1,560 for a bronze statue of William Pitt.

And one of the biggest surprises of the night was the sale of a Dave Brown cartoon of Margaret Thatcher.

Expected to fetch pounds 500 to pounds 700, it was sold to an anonymous bidder for pounds 8,400.

Josephine Olley, spokeswoman for Bonhams, said: "It was an unprecedented auction so we didn't really know what to expect, but the results speak for themselves. We're really pleased with the result.

"The room was packed and there were lots and lots of bidders."

Also in the collection of over 150 political works of art and memorabilia were the Lord Chancellor's robes dating from around 1800, which belonged to John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon.

They were estimated at pounds 300 to pounds 500 because of their poor, moth-eaten state, but sold for pounds 7,800. The most valuable item in the collection, a large Joshua Reynolds oil painting of Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland, was bought for pounds 96,000. …