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Winston Churchill’s cigar butt up for sale at Derbyshire auctioneers

Hansons Auctioneers valuer Jim Spencer poses with the cigar butt smoked by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Hansons Auctioneers valuer Jim Spencer poses with the cigar butt smoked by former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

A cigar butt once smoked by Winston Churchill is to be sold at auction by the Belper man whose father received it as a treasured gift.

The unusual lot will go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Etwall on Tuesday, March 27, and is expected to fetch up to £700.

The cigar smoked by Winston Churchill has given as a gift to the father of a Belper man in the early 1950s.

The cigar smoked by Winston Churchill has given as a gift to the father of a Belper man in the early 1950s.

Belper architect Mike Wood has recently rediscovered the cigar, which was given to his dad as a gift nearly 70 years ago.

Mike, 74, said: “I have had it safely wrapped up since my parents passed away. My father, Bill Wood, was given the cigar in either 1952 or 1953.

“At the time, Churchill was British prime minister and my father was a police officer in Kent.”

He added: “At night, as part of a fast-response team, my father would frequently check that all was well at Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, near Westerham, Kent.

“They’d call in there and make sure everything was in order and, during one of those trips to Chartwell, someone in the house gave my father the cigar butt which had been smoked by Winston himself.”

Churchill was renowned for his love of cigars and often pictured with one in hand.

He is said to have smoked around 250,000 cigars—or ten a day—during his life, after developing a taste for them around 1895 when he was in Havana, Cuba, to observe the Cuban War of Independence.

He was said to be especially fond of large maduro cigars but observers noted he never seemed to smoke them more than half way down.

Hansons Auctioneers valuer Jim Spencer said: “This is an incredible piece of history, the chance to own a cigar smoked by one of the greatest political leaders of all time.

Mike said his father was so proud of the butt that he stored it carefully, protected by a small plastic bag, until his death in 1971.

It was passed down to Mike after his mother died 12 years ago, but he was only recently reminded of its existence by the movie Darkest Hour, an account of Churchill’s early days as prime minister at the start of the Second World War.

Gary Oldman won the best actor Oscar for his performance as Churchill, and Mike was so impressed it prompted him to dig out the cigar butt.

He said: “I am sure there is someone who would enjoy having this. It is a fantastic piece of memorabilia.”

In December, Hansons sold an armchair used by Winston Churchill when it was at Harrow School for £320.

For more details, call 01283 733988 or email jspencer@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.