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Dictator’s Caps Are Hot in Romania

December 7, 1999

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ What’s the hottest new fashion in Romania?

A dictator’s cap, according to the government, which is auctioning goods that belonged to former authoritarian leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

``The caps are selling like hot cakes,″ Aurel Vlaicu, a government official involved in the auction, said Tuesday. The fourth auction of Ceausescu’s possessions is slated for Saturday.

In an auction earlier this year, bidders shelled out up to $250 for each of 40 Ceausescu caps. In Bucharest shops, a similar cap not owned by Ceausescu would cost about $1.40, Vlaicu said.

Harder to sell are the luxury yachts that the former dictator used, he said, although there have been inquiries from Russia, Slovenia and Belgium. The going price per yacht is about $20,000.

The government said it still has to sell 8,000 items that belonged to Ceausescu and his wife Elena, who were executed in December 1989 during a violent anticommunist uprising.

``He never threw anything away and things were piled on top of each other,″ Vlaicu said.

So far the sale, which includes all the presents given to the couple, has netted the impoverished country $1.1 million, he said. Buyers have mainly been from Japan, the United States and Britain.

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