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Churchill cigar sells for thousands of pounds at auction

A half-smoked cigar, abandoned in 1941 by Britain's wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill, was sold at auction on Thursday for £4,500 ($7,200).

In August 1941, as he made his way to an urgent cabinet meeting, Sir Winston Churchill, leader of Britain for much of World War II, abandoned one of the cigars with which he was so often pictured.

The half-smoked cigar, still nearly four inches (9.5 cm) long and bearing the name of the man who had smoked it, was picked up by Nellie Goble, then a valet at 10 Downing Street.

Nellie Goble subsequently sent the cigar off to a friend, along with a note written on 10 Downing Street notepaper which, according to the BBC, said:

To Jack, with all good wishes from Nellie. Just a small souvenir to remind you at some future date of one of the greatest men that ever lived in England

Upon "Jack"'s death in 1987, the full name of Nellie Goble's friend has not been revealed, the half-smoked cigar was handed on to his daughter.

And on Thursday "Jack"'s daughter saw the cigar stub, a souvenir, says the Eastern Daily Press, from the day the German army reached the Russian city of Leningrad, go up for sale at an auction house close to her home in Norfolk, a county in Eastern England.

Initial expectations were that the cigar, which had sat, wrapped in the note which accompanied it in 1941, in a drawer at the home of "Jack"'s daughter, would sell for £350 ($560).

However Sarah Prior, assistant valuer at Keys auction house in Aylsham, Norfolk, explained that it became obvious in due course that the cigar would fetch more than the original estimate. She told the Eastern Daily Press:

As soon as it had the press interest, we knew it would be more, probably four figures. I was expecting £1,000 or £2,000. We couldn't have dreamed it would go for £4,500

There were at first 24 bidders looking to acquire the cigar - the eight bidding by phone included individuals/representatives from Egypt and Israel, there were 15 commission bids and one person bidding at the auction house - but eventually, as the price increased, just two bidders were left.

The successful bidder was a private collector from Hertfordshire, a county just north of London, who has chosen to remain anonymous after placing his bids by phone.

Thursday's auction came just two months after a butter dish, used by Sir Winston Churchill as an ashtray, was sold for £4,200.

It appears that Keys were the auctioneers on that occasion too, the final sale price being close to three times the price that had been expected.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Source: Digital Journal

Churchill cigar sells for thousands of pounds at auction