The Collections of Steve Forbes
The publisher, businessman and collector of Churchillian memorabilia
Malcolm S Forbes Jr, universally known as Steve Forbes, is the son of Malcolm Forbes and Roberta Remsen.
Forbes followed his father into the running and publishing of business magazine Forbes, though not before founding his own magazine whilst at Princeton. Business Today is now the largest student-run magazine in the world.
Forbes is obviously influenced by his father's views on business and capitalism, and still wears a tie marked Capitalist Tool, in recognition of the insult (enthusiastically endorsed by its target) that the senior Forbes was 'a tool of the Capitalists'.
These, and other typical Republican views on morality and gun control led him into the political sphere. 1985, then-President Ronald Reagan made Forbes head of the Board of International Broadcasting (BIB), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Forbes was also the key architect of a plan to cut income tax which was crafted for Christine Whitman in her campaign running for New Jersey Governor, and helped her win.
He went on to put himself forward for the Republican primaries for President of the United States in 1996 and 2000, primarily to campaign for a flat tax. More recently he was part of Rudy Giuliani's and later John McCain's Presidential bids.
Forbes was the tenth most important contributor of political funds in America, with 15 donations totaling over $7 million from 1999 to 2006.
His father also held an interest in the Presidency of course, in the form of his autograph and manuscript collection of Americana, with some especially choice pieces relating to Lincoln.
Steve Forbes also owns a collection of political memorabilia. But his most prominent collection comes from across the pond, as he has assembled what is almost certainly the greatest archive of memorabilia relating to Britain's Winston Churchill there has been.
The sale is to be offered by Christie's with two parts of the collection sold in Britain and a third in the US.
A portrait photograph of Churchill as a baby.
Churchill's war diary (expected to be the top lot of the first auction at up to £120,000) detailing his essential meetings, alongside other daily and leisure activities.
An amusing telegram sent by the Boer Police to Johannesburg as they attempted to track down Churchill, who was captured during the Boer War but escaped, and casually strolled down a path to catch a passing train to freedom:
"Englishman 25 years old about 5 foot 8 inches tall medium build walks with a slight stoop. Pale features. Reddish-brown hair almost invisible small moustache. Speaks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter S. Had last a brown suit on and cannot speak one word of Dutch."
Churchill's account of the British army's last cavalry charge in the 1898 Battle of Omdurman (in which he took part) is expected to be a strong seller given its historical value, and has been estimated at up to £50,000.
An account of the leader's experiences of the trenches in WWI also appears, in the form of a letter written to Mrs Edwin Montagu.
Perhaps three pieces capture Churchill's character best: first, his rhetoric and cutting wit shown in a letter concerning religion to his cousin Ivor:
"All religion is a delicious narcotic' and that 'Catholicism - all religion if you like, but particularly Catholicism, is a delicious narcotic.
"It may soothe the pains and chase our worries, but it checks our growth and saps our strength..... Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's & for God's sake leave God to look after his own affairs."
Secondly, his fighting spirit which carried Britain through WWII is shown in a brief note to his former assistant private secretary, Eliot Crawshaw-Williams.
The latter had written a letter to Churchill in 1940, recommending that they watch for the point at which Britain had no realistic chance of winning the war, and if this point was reached that they should use their 'nuisance value' to negotiate favourable peace terms.
The writer "[hoped that] this doesn't sound defeatist; I'm not that. Only realist.", but Churchill obviously did not agree, returning the letter with the message "I am ashamed of you for writing such a letter. I return it to you - to burn & forget."
Finally, no Churchill collection would be complete without a cigar, and one appears as part of the collection which was given by Churchill to Christopher Dunn. The unsmoked Havana cigar by Camacho will be offered in a box inscribed 'Hotel de Paris - Churchill Cigar. Dinner - April '63'.
A cigar half-smoked by Churchill was sold for £4,500 earlier this year. In general Churchillian memorabilia, such as photographs or letters, is very valuable, and the collection is believed to be worth £1m.
Top Five Related Articles...
· Our Top Five pieces of political memorabilia | 19 April 2010
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· Today in History... Winston Churchill makes his first speech | 18 February 2010
February 18, 1901: Britain's great WW2 leader stands up in Parliament for the first time
· Winston Churchill's cigar sold for £4.5k | 2 February 2010
The WW2 leader's half-smoked Cuban brought over ten times its estimate
· The Collections of Malcolm Forbes | 26 November 2009
The cheerful multi-millionaire businessman, philanthropist and enthusiastic collector...
· Winston Churchill £5k bust and £1.5k chair go to auction | 22 October 2009
Your chance to own a sculpture of Britain's greatest Prime Minister and his beachwood open armchair
Images: Christie's (Memorabilia) and Monica Hart (Forbes - used under CC-BY-SA 3.0 permission)