Page last updated at 05:05 GMT, Thursday, 29 January 2009

Lucan's desk appears for auction

Lord Lucan's desk
The Louis XV style desk is made of Victorian rosewood and tulipwood

An antique desk owned by missing aristocrat Lord Lucan is expected to fetch up to 7,000 at auction.

The 7th Earl of Lucan vanished in 1974 after the murder of his children's nanny at the family's London home.

His body has never been found and the disappearance remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of recent times.

Bonhams has been instructed by Lady Lucan to sell the 19th Century desk, used at her former home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, at a sale on 11 March.

Guy Savill, head of Bonhams' fine furniture department, said: "Because of its association with Lord Lucan and the mystery surrounding his disappearance, which continues to generate fascination decades later, the sale of the desk will doubtless arouse a great deal of interest."

Peer sightings

The Louis XV-style desk was made of Victorian rosewood and tulipwood by Edward Holmes Baldock.

It has gilt bronze mounts and the shaped top has a tooled leather insert.

The desk, estimated to sell for between 5,000 and 7,000, features in Bonhams Fine English Furniture and Works of Art auction in London.

Since vanishing there have been more than 70 alleged sightings of Lord Lucan in countries across the world including South Africa, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The peer, born Richard Bingham in 1934, has not been seen since the day after Sandra Rivett, nanny to his three children, was found murdered at the Earl's central London home in 1974.

His blood-soaked car was found abandoned in Newhaven, East Sussex.

In 1975, an inquest jury formally found him guilty of the murder of Mrs Rivett in his absence. He was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999.

Casino owner and conservationist John Aspinall, who was one of the last people to see Lord Lucan alive, said in a 2000 interview that he probably committed suicide by scuttling his boat in the English Channel.

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