Oswald Mosley's wife's pearls sell with 142% increase on estimate

A single row saltwater pearl necklace that once belonged to the wife of controversial British politician Oswald Mosley brought £193,250 ($295,476) to Bonhams London yesterday (April 24).

The pearl necklace, which boasts an impressive diamond and ruby clasp, auctioned 141.5% above its £80,000 top estimate - an increase that can be put down to Oswald Mosley's notoriety, as much as the quality of Cynthia's pearls.

Oswald Mosley pearl necklace auction
Valued at £80,000 ($121,654), the necklace brought a 141.5% increase

Cynthia Mosley (nee Curzon) was the daughter of Edwardian statesman and Indian viceroy Lord Curzon, and is considered among the last flowerings of the privileged world of the Victorian haute monde. The pearls are believed to have been a gift from father to daughter.

Oswald and Cynthia's was not a happy union. Oswald had numerous affairs and was known to bully his wife in public.

Oswald Mosley founded the British Union of Fascists (which included the militant Blackshirts) in 1931. He was a supporter of both Mussolini and Hitler during his political career. In 2006, Mosley was selected by BBC History Magazine as the 20th century's worst Britain.

Items relating to divisive individuals can prove very collectible indeed. We currently have this extensive archive of Albert Pierrepoint - Britain's last hangman - memorabilia in stock.

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