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Duke of Windsor’s ‘Abdication Desk’ to be auctioned

July 8, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ The desk at which the Duke of Windsor signed away his throne for the woman he loved will be auctioned off in September along with more than 40,000 objects from the couple’s home in Paris.

For nine days in New York, Sotheby’s will offer mementos of one of the great love stories of our time, the auction house said Monday.

The highlights include the ``Abdication Desk″ at which the duke, having reigned as King Edward VIII for less than a year, signed his abdication in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. As king, and head of the Church of England, he could not marry a divorced woman.

The desk, a George III mahogany library table from about 1755, is expected to bring $30,000 to $50,000.

``This is the greatest royal collection to be offered at auction,″ said Diana Phillips, spokeswoman for Sotheby’s.

The items on the auction block also include artworks, antiques, rare books, 10,000 photos going back to the 1860s, Mrs. Simpson’s paste jewelry, even a preserved piece of the couple’s wedding cake from 1937 and needlepoint cushions made by the duke himself to amuse himself in the evenings.

The auction Sept. 11-19 is expected to fetch as much as $7 million.

The couple died in Paris _ he in 1972, she in 1986 _ after decades in ``the petit palace for a former king and his wife,″ said Michael Cole, spokesman for Harrods of London.

The department store’s chairman, Mohamed Al Fayed, acquired the Windsors’ home and its contents from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, the major beneficiary of the duchess’ will.

Proceeds of the auction will benefit children’s charities worldwide.

A previous Windsor auction _ of the duchess’ jewelry _ brought in $45.3 million in Geneva in 1987, a record for a jewelry sale.

The sale follows another royal blockbuster auction: Christie’s New York sale of Princess Diana’s gowns last month.

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