Top 5 Fidel Castro Memorabilia
With new wealth set to be injected into Cuba, Fidel Castro memorabilia is on the up
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Wednesday 2 May 2012
5. Osvaldo Salas - Hemingway and Castro photograph
Ernest Hemingway's famous Finca Vigía in Cuba was home to the writer for over 20 years and it was here that he wrote much of the novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway maintained a strong relationship with the Castro government, who transformed the house into a museum devoted to the author following his death in 1961.
This photograph, from Osvaldo Salas, shows the writer talking with the Cuban president. It sold for $3,300 at Bonhams in 2007.
4. Castro signed letter from Prison
This letter was written by fellow revolutionary Augustin Cartaya to an unknown female, who sent poetry to prisoners in support of the movement. It reads (translated): "You know that our tasks are firm to sever the ideals, our formula of action demands continuity of our efforts that is why from here we will fight continually for our improvement starting with education."
Signed by 26 fighters, including Castro, who were imprisoned following their attack on the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba, the letter sold for $7,767 at Bonhams in 2007.
With the PCF40 Autograph Index revealing a 22.2% pa increase on Castro autographs from 2000 to 2011, the letter could now see bids in the region of $15,000.
3. Materials from 1967 Playboy interview
This extensive archive of materials from the 1967 Playboy magazine interview with Fidel Castro sold for over three times its estimated value at Bonhams. The 2003 sale saw the collection bring $8,963, against an estimate of $2,500, displaying an impressive 258.5% increase.
2. Fidel Castro's golden gun
Castro's elaborate Colt handgun was gold-plated by engraver John Ek in the 1950s. The Bay of Pigs invasion and missile crisis ensured that Ek was never able to return the gun to Castro, resulting in its sale in 2005. The handgun made $10,350 at auction.
The gun is said to be the source of inspiration for Ian Fleming's character Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun, who works for Castro's secret police.
1. Cheque from Fidel Castro to Che Guevara
A unique cheque from Fidel Castro to Che Guevara tops our list, with a sale price of $13,611. The cheque provides one of the greatest items for collectors, bearing both Guevara's and Castro's signatures. The cheque was made out to Guevara for the sum of $10,534,567.52 on February 1, 1960.
The market for Castro memorabilia is due to be stimulated significantly when the ailing leader passes. His deteriorating health has prompted 1 million wealthy Cuban expats to state they will return to the country when he is gone, providing fresh interest to the market. With the untapped wealth of Cuba's oil reserves also set to inject new money into the country, revolutionary memorabilia is likely to experience dramatic increases at future auctions.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has this pre-revolutionary Cuban flag, signed by both Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. We believe this to be one of the most important items of Castro memorabilia on the market today, perfectly capturing an iconic movement that changed history.
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Images: Bonhams/iCollector/WikicollectingBy Paul Fraser