Question: how much did the remains of a cigar that had once been smoked by Sir Winston Churchill fetch at auction? £1,000? £2,000? Not even close. A collector from Palm Beach in Florida shelled out £9,000. What is equally as impressive as the price tag, is that so much is known about the history of the partially smoked cigar, even where and when the former British Prime Minister smoked it: Le Bourget Airport in Paris on 11 May 1947. How do we know? Because the 4 inch Cuban cigar, which features a red-and-gold La Corona label alongside Churchill’s full name, was saved all those years ago by a Cpl William Alan Turner. What’s more, the airman, who flew Churchill and his wife from RAF Northolt to Paris and back, took a photograph of the stub and wrote an annotation in pencil that explains all: “A photograph I took from the doorway of York MW101 at Le Bourget airport, Paris, on 11th May 1947 just before we flew black to Northolt. [Churchill] is surrounded by French ex-servicemen with whom he had been chatting. He stubbed out his cigar in an ashtray when he came aboard, and I took the remains into protective custody.” Fast forward to today and those remains have become a valuable piece of history, as Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction, said, the half-smoked cigar is “a synonymous piece from Churchill’s trademark look”. Give the Air Quartermaster a cigar.
October 30, 2017