Papier-mâché box given to Yorkshire-born Baroness Betty Boothroyd by former Russian president Boris Yeltsin sells for almost 50 times its estimate

A papier-mâché box Boris Yeltsin gave to former Commons Speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd has sold for nearly 50 times its estimate at auction.

The 91-year-old, who was born in Yorkshire sold around 70 decorative items she was presented with during her eight years in charge at the House of Commons.

The 20th century ornamental box from the late Russian president sold for £2,400 – a whopping 48 times its £50 estimate.

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She said: “I entertained President Yeltsin during a trip to London. He kissed my hand and gratefully presented me with the little box, which has a note inside from him.

The box was given to the Yorkshire-born politician by Boris Yeltsin. (Pic credit: SWNS)

“That would have been during the time I was Speaker between 1992 and 2000.”

A large fine china limited edition figure of Lawrence of Arabia riding a camel sold for £1,250 – more than three times the £250-£350 guide price.

One of six ever made, it was given to the baroness when she was president of the All-Party Defence Group.

Other treasures included costume jewellery and ornaments as well as political mementos, while two art glass birds by Finnish designer Oiva Toikka fetched £190.

Baroness Betty Boothroyd sold off some items as she is dowsizing. (Pic credit: SWNS)

A ship’s glass decanter and glasses presented to her by the British Navy in St Petersburg, Russia, made £110 having been expected to fetch £30.

An inscribed pewter beer jug handed to her by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group sold for £130, more than twice its estimate of £50.

Baroness Boothroyd parted with the gifts after downsizing from her London home to a small cottage in South Cambridgeshire which is too small to accommodate them.

The former West Bromwich MP said the items auctioned by Hansons London were her “life story”.

She said: “It was very hard for me to part with some of the treasures I had built up over my lifetime and political career but, due to the need to downsize, I simply hadn’t got room for everything anymore.

“I’ve cherished every single thing but I had to let go. They were a reminder of a colourful life.”