Author Jeffrey Archer eyes million-pound charity auction

Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:35am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - He is best known as an author, Conservative politician and one-time prisoner, but Jeffrey Archer is also a keen auctioneer who aims to break his own record for a single sale at Christie's in London on Monday.

On offer at the charity sale are a handbag belonging to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a ball used in the 2003 rugby world cup final which England won and a stopwatch that recorded Roger Bannister's historic sub-four-minute mile.

The proceeds from the sale go to charities selected by the contributing celebrities and prominent figures in politics and sport (

"We are aiming to raise a million (pounds)," Archer, 71, told Reuters.

"I've done around 1,000 charity auctions in the last 30 years and my record is over 600,000 pounds ($971,160) and I want to break that," he said. Over his career wielding the gavel he has raised nearly 40 million pounds for charity.

Asked what it took to be a good auctioneer, Archer replied: "You want to be a bit of an actor, a performer."

Among the items Archer has contributed to the auction are first editions of all of his books, which he said might interest buyers in India, where he has a particularly strong following.

He also donated one of three stopwatches used to record British athlete Bannister's record-breaking run in 1954 when he became the first person to be officially recorded running a mile in under four minutes.   Continued...

<p>British author Jeffrey Archer poses for a photograph in his flat in London May 5, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>