BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Bidders in Romania have spent 50,000 euros ($55,000) buying Communist memorabilia in an auction that included items belonging to the late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
The star lot was a Communist Party card issued to Ceausescu in 1954, when it was known as the Worker's Party. It was sold for 2,000 ($2,200) euros, seven times the asking price, sparking applause in the room.
Dozens attended the auction Wednesday night at the 19th-century Athenee Palace Hotel, a Bucharest landmark. Bids also came in by phone and online for the items, some luxurious, others of historical interest.
Ceausescu led one of the most repressive regimes in Eastern Europe, but some remain fascinated with his life 25 years after he and his wife Elena were deposed and executed during the 1989 revolution.
The party card shows Ceausescu's father was a member of the center-right Liberal Party and the family were landowners — surprisingly middle-class origins for a leader who championed the rights of the masses.
A woman who outbid everyone to buy the card swiftly left the auction, saying she would donate it to a museum.
Ceausescu's flat cap, which he wore with everything including suits, sold for 350 euros ($385).
Other items included posters warning against AIDS that were never made public, because Ceausescu banned public knowledge of the disease.
Artmark auction house said Thursday that 78 of the 116 items were sold.