Decorative panel from the carriage of President Arthur presented to Lillie Langtry, $11,000 (£8800) at Bonhams Skinner.

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Her colourful life – including a three-year affair with the future Edward VII – gave rise to what would become the British tabloid press.

There was big money to be made in the US, so Langtry took her team on the road throughout the 1880s.

During this time, she managed to get herself invited onto the presidential railcar of Chester Arthur who, somewhat smitten, presented Langtry with a decorative panel from the carriage. Measuring 2ft 3in x 2ft 2in, it shows the patriotic scene of an eagle standing guard over the Stars and Stripes.

Langtry took the panel and mounted it in her own private rail carriage, the LaLee (Winnebago for flirt), which she used while touring in America. So heavy was the car that it often required two locomotives to negotiate steep uphill grades.

The panel comes with the following inscription: Removed from the Locomotive [sic] Lalee, Transatlantic tour of Miss Lillie Langtry 1887, A Gift April 1887 from the State Train of Chester Arthur, President of US America.

No further provenance was given by Bonhams Skinner (28/27/21/14.5% buyer’s premium) as it came to auction in Marlborough, Massachusetts, on December 5, but it carried a modest $600-800 estimate. Eager bidding sent the panel to $11,000 (£8800).