Thursday, 28 October 2010

Cherie Blair selling on eBay

While Tony Blair has been earning up to £6,000 per minute as a speaker, his wife has been adding to the family fortunes by selling a watch thought to have been given to the former prime minister by his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi.
Earlier this month, Mrs Blair sold the Locman Mare Titanium timepiece on eBay, the auction website, for £98 after advertising it as "unused in its original box with guarantee".
The wristwatch, which would have cost at least £300 when new, was thought to have been one of nine given to the Blairs by the famously generous Mr Berlusconi that they decided to pay for when they left Downing Street three years ago.
Nor was the watch the only thing Mrs Blair sold in recent months. Among the more bizarre items she offered was a piece of paper signed by her husband, which fetched £10 last week.
A spokesman for Mrs Blair claimed she had not intended to profit from the autograph, saying she had advertised it to "undermine the market" in Blair signatures, because she was upset that people were selling them for up to £35. She claimed to have refunded the £10 as soon as she had sold the signature.
The spokesman said he had "no knowledge" of the sale of the watch.
Since leaving Downing Street, Mr Blair has been highly paid for speaking engagements, and as an adviser to foreign rulers and financial institutions

US car enthusiast buys Bond's Aston Martin at auction

By Reuben Easey
Agence France-Presse
First Posted 10:48:00 10/28/2010

A US car enthusiast has bought James Bond's famous Aston Martin car, complete with ejector seat and revolving number plates, at auction in London for more than $4 million.

The 1964 silver Aston Martin DB5 was driven by Sean Connery when he played the fictional British spy in the films "Goldfinger" (1964) and "Thunderball" (1965).

US collector Harry Yeaggy flew into Britain for Wednesday's sale and outbid his rivals to buy the car for 2.6 million pounds ($4.1 million, 3 million euros).

This was less than its pre-sale estimate of more than $5 million.

Yeaggy said the car's new home would be in a US museum -- but beforehand he planned to "have a bit of fun" taking the car for a spin around the streets of the British capital.

"We're going to fire the car up and drive it round the streets of London tonight. We're going to have a bit of fun with it," he told BBC television.

The US collector said he had taken a last-minute decision to fly into Britain for the auction, and confessed to being surprised that an American came out on top in the sale.

"I thought a European would buy it. But I guess they didn't appreciate Bond as much as we do," he said.

The Bond movie car was sold by its US owner, Pennsylvania broadcaster Jerry Lee, who bought it for $12,000 in 1969. The proceeds will go to his charitable foundation.

It is fitted with the full complement of operational "Q-Branch" gadgets, and auctioneers RM Auctions dubbed it the most famous car in the world.

The car is also equipped with machine guns, bullet-proof shield, tracking device, removable roof panel, oil slick sprayer and smoke screen, all controlled by "toggles and switches hidden in the centre arm-rest".

"The machine guns, as you can see, do come out of their intended place. As far as I know, they don't shoot bullets, but then again, I haven't tried," Don Rose, a car specialist for the auctioneers, told AFP.

The gear stick top flips up to reveal the red ejector seat button. It also has homing radar and a telephone mounted inside the driver's door panel.

The car has been on tour over the past five months, with appearances in Britain, Germany, Monte Carlo, New York and Hong Kong.

Admission to the sale in Battersea, south London, required the purchase of an official auction catalogue available for 50 pounds.

Purchase of the car, lot 197 in the sale, also included a stay at the GoldenEye resort in Jamaica, the original Caribbean estate of Ian Fleming, the British author who created James Bond.

A custom-made suit woven with gold thread made by the tailors who dressed Connery as Bond was also thrown in.