A cigar that was once smoked by Winston Churchill is set to be auctioned alongside a handwritten note and the jar it was once stored in.
Churchill, the British prime minister who led the United Kingdom through most of World War II, gave the cigar as a memento in August 1944 to Hugh Stonehewer-Bird, the consul general in Rabat, Morocco.
“It’s amazing what turns up in glass jars. This is an iconic piece of memorabilia connected to one of Britain’s most famous prime ministers and the Second World War,” said Charles Hanson, the owner of the auction house selling the unique item. “Churchill was renowned for his love of cigars and occasionally gave them as gifts to people who had helped him in any way.”
The cigar has been kept in the possession of the Stonehewer-Bird family for over 75 years and will be sold at an auction house in Derbyshire. The guide price is expected to be between $750 to $1120.
“The original handwritten label provides the provenance collectors like,” Hanson said. “We hope this item will excel under the hammer.”
Churchill, one of Britain’s most honored political figures, was frequently photographed with cigars, and it was estimated that he went through between eight to 10 cigars every day. He once defended his smoking habit after the king of Saudi Arabia informed him that he would not be allowed to drink or smoke around him.
“As I was the host at the luncheon I raised the matter at once, and said to the interpreter that if it was the religion of His Majesty to deprive himself of smoking and alcohol I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them,” he wrote in his memoirs.
Cigars by the famed prime minister have done well at auctions before, with one selling for over $26,000 in March. That record-breaking cigar was one that Churchill had given to Chequers Trust auditor Leonard Herbert Norman in 1953.
“The cigar box was circulated for the second time. I didn’t feel equal to smoking another,” he wrote in his memoirs. ‘But I did take one and hastily put it unseen (I think) into an inner pocket and still have it today.”
Last year, a box of Churchill’s cigars sold for nearly $20,000. The cigars, from Cuba, were labeled with his name and given to him by a New York businessman.