Argentina fights for Peron's worldly goods

Dec. 28, 2010 at 11:36 PM
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BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- The Argentine government and a former aide to four-time president Juan Peron are locked in a legal battle over the strongman's possessions.

Mario Rotundo says he plans to sell items like Peron's shoes, his dog's headstone and his transistor radio, among thousands of other items, The Washington Post reported. He expects to make $25 million for the People's Peace and Friendship Foundation, which Rotundo runs.

Rotundo sold one lot of 56 items in 2004 at Christie's in Rome, making more than $500,000. But the government has obtained an injunction temporarily blocking any more sales.

Rotundo, 60, knew Peron only briefly. He was in his 20s when he met the former president, exiled from Argentina, in Madrid, not long before Peron's death in 1974.

In 1990, Isabel "Isabelita" Peron, Peron's third wife, signed his possessions over to Rotundo.

Rotundo has said he would like to see his collection in a museum but only if the government is willing to pay for them.

Felipe Pigna, a historian at the University of San Martin who has written a book on Peron's notorious second wife, "Evita" Peron, said it is "absurd" that items important to Peron's legacy might be scattered to private collectors.

"We are talking about Peron, someone who was very important in the history of Argentina, no matter what you may think of him," Pigna said.

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