It has been 56 years since the passing of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, but eager fans hoping to own a piece of history are still willing to pay high prices for memorabilia that belonged to the cigar-smoking statesman. Earlier this month, an auction lot that included a humidor, cigars and accessories once owned by Churchill sold to a private collector for £76,250 which amounts to approximately $105,931.
Put up for auction on March 11 via Duke’s Auctions of Dorchester, England, the main item was a Montecristo humidor made of rosewood with a decorative, geometric inlay and an inscription that reads: “The Hon. Winston Churchill” on the inner lid. Also included in the sale were two personalized cigars with tubos, an amber cigar holder mounted in nine-karat gold with its own leather case and a mother-of-pearl penknife.
The lot had been expected to fetch between £5,000 to £7,000 but the auction clearly had some serious Churchill enthusiasts as the hammer was struck at £61,000 ($84,728), which totaled £76,250 after taxes and fees.
Churchill became such a 20th century smoking icon he had a cigar size named after him. The cigars included in the auction, however, are not the signature 7 inch by 47 ring gauge Churchill size commonly associated with him. One is a perfecto made by Santa Maria in Havana and the other appears to be a corona or corona gorda size from the A.M. Hirschsprung & Sønner tobacco company in Copenhagen.
The Santa Maria’s band features an image of the esteemed politician and the tubo reads “Dedicated to The Right Honourable Winston Churchill, Doctor philosophiae honoris causa The University of Copenhagen Oct the 10th 1950.” The other tubo reads “Especially Packed for The Right Honourable Winston Churchill” and the cigar band reads “La Corona Winston Churchill.”
The mother-of-pearl pen-knife, believed to have been used as a cigar cutter, is engraved with “Winston L.S. Churchill.”
These items once belonged to Churchill’s personal valet, Norman McGowan, and were discovered on a shelf during a valuation of a home in Devon, England, by Duke’s specialist Julian Smith.
“It truly is one of those items that if you are lucky enough to discover you never will forget. I am absolutely thrilled that something so special has been such a success on a global scale.” Smith said.
This is not the first time Churchill’s cigar memorabilia has gone to auction. In 2019, a cigar dropped by Churchill at a movie premiere was sold for £4,800 (about $6,670), a half-smoked cigar of Churchill’s was sold for over $12,000 in 2017 and in 2010 a Cuban Camacho belonging to Churchill sold for over £2,000 or about $2,780.