One of Winston Churchill's cigars sells for record £25,500 at auctionMarch 31, 2023
One of Sir Winston Churchill’s cigars sells for record £25,500 at auction – after it was smuggled out of Chequers in 1953 by a guest who couldn’t face smoking it
- One of Winston Churchill’s cigars has sold at auction for a record £25,500
- The cigar was smuggled out of Chequers by a guest and kept for 70 years
One of Sir Winston Churchill’s cigars has sold at auction for a record £25,500 – thanks to one Chequers guest who couldn’t face smoking it.
The 7in cigar was smuggled out of a boozy lunch by Chequers Trust auditor Leonard Herbert Norman in 1953, who went ‘drink for drink’ with the prime minister during the meal.
When Churchill passed his cigar box around – for a second time during lunch – Mr Norman was not feeling up to it, so put the cigar into his pocket and made off with it.
He wrote in his memoirs: ‘The cigar box was circulated for the second time. I didn’t feel equal to smoking another.
‘But I did take one and hastily put it unseen (I think) into an inner pocket and still have it today.’
One of Winston Churchill’s cigars has sold at auction for a record £25,500, more than 12 times its estimate
The cigar was taken from Chequers by a guest who went ‘drink for drink’ with the prime minister during a boozy lunch
The cigar, which is in a custom-made oak presentation box, remained in Norman’s family for 70 years.
A descendant has now sold it with London-based auctioneers Bonhams where it fetched over 12 times its £2,000 estimate.
A Bonhams spokesperson said: ‘As far as we know, this is the most valuable Churchill cigar sold at auction.’
According to Mr Norman, Churchill often left cigars burning in an ashtray during meetings.
The cigar was sold with a typed memo from 1966 in which Norman recalls the Chequers hospitality.
He writes of one long dinner: ‘The table was littered with empty magnums of champagne.
‘Sir Winston had drunk about a bottle of brandy and had regaled them the whole time, he rang the bell and demanded whisky and soda.
The cigar was sold with a typed memo from 1966 in which Norman recalls the Chequers hospitality
‘They retired to bed at 4am. At 9.30am he had to get up to Downing Street for a cabinet meeting, so he had a light breakfast of a piece of toast and a whisky and soda.’
In 2018, TV personality Piers Morgan bought a half-smoked Churchill cigar at auction for £2,600.
A box of Churchill’s Cuban cigars sold for almost $20,000 (£16,000) in Boston, US, in August 2022.
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