Leeds auctioneer sells Emmeline Pankhurst’s banner after 10 years on the shelf

Gary Don with the banner.
Gary Don with the banner.

a banner used by leading suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst that was tucked away in a Leeds charity shop for 10 years has been sold at auction for £13,600.

Auctioneer Gary Don described the sale as “worldwide”, with 14 bidders across a possible 110 countries.

Even after verifying the banner, Mr Don only expected it to be sold for around £7,000.

Around a decade ago a man donated the piece to the anonymous charity.

It had belonged to a woman who is thought to have moved to Leeds from Manchester in the 1930s.

Mr Don said: “Something like that, it’s quite an event really. When you think about what they had to go through, these ladies.

“At the time they were not very popular with a lot of people. It’s very unusual for something like that [the banner] to come to light.

“This seems to have come to light at the right time. The world’s eyes are on Manchester.

“These people put it on a shelf for years and didn’t think it was worth anything.”

Mr Don who sold the banner from the Curtis Buildings in Leeds, said that he verified the banner through the manufacturer Thomas Brown.

Mr Don said: “I got in touch with everybody I possibly could who had something to do with Suffragettes.”

“When somebody out-bids a museum you know you’ve got a good price.”

Emmeline helped to form the then notorious Women’s Social and Political Union.

She paved the way for the Representation of the People Act, giving votes to women over 30 - but Emmeline died on June 14, 1928, shortly after women aged 21 were granted equal voting rights with men.

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