SEVEN years might be a long time in politics. But everything, like everyone, has a shelf life it would seem. Even this array of memorabilia gifted to Alex Salmond MSP by the great, the good and the ordinary during his tenure as First Minister of Scotland.
Maybe he simply didn’t have room away from Bute House. Perhaps he was thinking of how heavy his suitcase would be if he lands a trip back to London come May’s General Election.
Either way, Saturday will see an auction like no other, at which the likes of a toy panda gifted by the Chinese Government, an original Jolomo painting and a cow bell gifted by the government of Switzerland will be among the items going under the hammer in the name of charity.
A crystal horse from Qatar Airways and a paperweight from the Catalan government are also among the items being sold off by Anita Manning of Great Western Auctions – the antiques expert from TV’s Bargain Hunt, Flog It and Antiques Road Trip.
Ms Manning told The Scotsman the lot of more than 300 items represented a “slice of history”, with all of the items expected to be sold on the day of auction.
The public sale in Glasgow, expected to attract hundreds of people, is in aid of St Jerome’s Children’s Home, Clic Sargent and the Scottish Youth Theatre – all charities chosen by the former First Minister.
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Mr Salmond has included his Saltire-decorated tie as well as autographed copies of the Edinburgh Agreement between the Scottish and UK governments on holding a legal referendum in the lot, plus a model wind turbine given to him by Scottish Power.
An oil painting gifted by Glaswegian artist John Lowrie Morrison – known as Jolomo – will also be on sale.
Mr Salmond, who will attend the auction, described the gifts as a “real Aladdin’s cave”.
He said: “All of these gifts, received from everyone from heads of state and industry leaders to artists and school pupils, have been cherished and displayed variously at Bute House, St Andrew’s House or in the Scottish Parliament.
“It’s like the best episode of the Generation Game.”
The bulk of the lots have not been valued as they are not classed as antiques, although the auctioneers have placed starting bids on some items.
Mr Salmond said that many of the gifts marked “key milestones” from his time as First Minister, such as the gift of the toy pandas from the Chinese government to mark the arrival of the giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang from China at Edinburgh Zoo in December 2011.
There is also a set of 38 gold-coloured rectangular commemorative “Friendlies” medallions depicting the Olympic Games mascots from the Beijing Olympic Games just a year after Mr Salmond came to power.
Ms Manning, who is also expecting online bids for Mr Salmond’s gifts, said: “The sale of the First Minister’s gifts will generate a lot of interest as it’s a slice of history.
“It’s a snapshot of Alex Salmond’s term as First Minister.”
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