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A Cigar Puffed by Winston Churchill Is Set to Go on Auction

The British prime minister smoked the cigar while attending a movie premiere in 1953.

On January 30, 1953, Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine attended a film premiere at the London Coliseum. According to a report published in the Daily Telegraph the following day, the audience “rose and cheered” as the pair entered the theater. The prime minister, in turn, “smiled and gave the victory sign.”


At some point in the evening, Churchill—a notorious cigar aficionado who was rarely seen without his trademark dose of tobacco—dropped a half-smoked cigar onto the theater floor. Violet King, an usherette tasked with overseeing the row in which the couple was seated, pocketed the discarded cigar and preserved it as a reminder of her brush with the revered British politician.

Come December, this 66-year-old memento is set to go on auction for the first time. Per a press release from Hansons Auctioneers, the cigar, expected to fetch between $6,000 and $7,000, will be sold alongside a yellowed newspaper clipping detailing the prime minister’s night at the theater and—perhaps most impressively—a letter from his personal secretary attesting to the item’s provenance.


Courtesy of The Smithsonian


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