Greatest Winston Churchill collection ever goes under the hammer

Next month, Christie's is to offer what they claim is 'the most important and comprehensive private collection of letters and books related to Winston Churchill ever assembled'.

The collection belongs to Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine, the son of fellow collector Malcolm Forbes. The collection was assembled over a period of more than 30 years.

Christie's will sell the collection of the great statesman's memorabilia in three auctions - the first and last in London and the second in New York - at six month intervals. Some of the highlights of the collection include:

A telegram sent by the Boer Police to Johannesburg as they attempted to track down Churchill. The great man had been captured in the Boer War, but had hopped over a wall, strode casually down a path and caught 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."

The incident was of great assistance in Churchill's campaign to become an MP the following year. The telegram has a modest guide price of £6,000-8,000.

Winston Churchill's war diary
Cards from Winston Churchill's war diary

The most important surviving source for Churchill's daily activities during the World War II, his engagement diary is also to appear in the first auction.

The series of thirty engagement cards giving day-to-day details of the Prime Minister's appointments from September 1939 to June 1945, noting meetings with President Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and Stalin, alongside more regular dinners and lunches with King George VI is expected to realise £80,000 to £120,000.

Thomas Venning, Director of Books and Manuscripts at Christie's commented:

"This outstanding collection presents an exceptional and fascinating insight into [Churchill's] personality, character, sharp wit and his distinctive way with words, with letters, photographs and books spanning his entire life."

The first sale takes place on June 2 in London. Collectors unwilling to wait that long for rare Churchillean memorabilia will wish to know that this signed photo, personal letter and annotated transcript of his answers to parliamentary questions are currently available.



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