Shoes thrown at former Aussie Prime Minister hit $3,650 in eBay sale



When Paul Fraser Collectibles appeared on the BBC News Channel's The Record Review earlier this year, to discuss a recent sale of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's handbag, we were asked to predict a future valuable piece of political memorabilia...

At the time, we suggested that a microphone worn by ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown during the UK's infamous 'Bigotgate' scandal (Brown referred to a woman voter as "bigoted" without realising his microphone was still switched on) could one day be worth something.

But a recent sale in Australia has demonstrated that we should have perhaps instead turned our attentions to flying objects...

A pair of shoes once thrown at former Australian Prime Minister John Howard have reportedly been sold for $3,650 via eBay. The shoes were pelted at Howard during a live political discussion on Australia's ABC channel, according to the Sun Herald.

"This is for the Iraqi dead!" exclaimed the shoes' thrower, Peter Gray, at the time. Mr Gray has since passed away following a battle with cancer, but requested that the (in)famous shoes be sold for a charitable cause.

Politicians and projectiles have become ever-more inseparable in recent years

The sale's $3,650 proceeds were reportedly donated to charity, as per Mr Gray's wishes.

This isn't the first time that flying shoes have been embraced as symbols of political dissent on the auction block.

In 2008, a Saudi man offered to pay $10m for a pair of shoes hurled at US President George W Bush by an Iraqi journalist during a press conference in Baghdad. Mohamed Makhafa, a retired school teacher, said he considered the size 10 shoes a "medal of freedom and more valuable than everything he owns" according to news channel Al Jazeera.

Collectors shouldn't underestimate the symbolism and value attached to political clothing and accessories - demonstrated by the sale of Margaret Thatcher's handbag for £25,000 ($39,892) at Christie's earlier this year.

Thatcher owned the bag for more than 30 years, including during her time as British Prime Minister.

In fact, the bag became so synonymous with Thatcher that the late MP Nicholas Ridley is reported to have said prior to a discussion: "Why don't we start? The handbag is here." 


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