Silver Harrods cigar box estimated to make $169,000 at Christie's

A silver cigar box in the shape of Harrods department store is among the headline lots in Christie's September 3 Out of the Ordinary sale.

The lot, which carries an estimate of £70,000-100,000 ($118,440-169,200), was presented to the owner of the store by the head of London rival Selfridges after he won a bet.

Harrods silver model
The model was made for Richard Woodman Burbidge of Harrods after he won a bet against H Gordon Selfridge

A contemporary letter by Gordon Selfridge (1858-1947) lays out the terms: "Jan. 4th, 1917 Wagered Mr. Woodman Burbidge that within six (6) years after declaration of peace we would overtake and pass Harrods Ltd. in annual returns. The stake is to be a silver miniature replica of the loser's store. H. Gordon Selfridge."

By 1927, Harrods was up and Burbidge wrote to Selfridge to claim his prize. He also politely asked for a model of his own store rather than his competitors.

It was made in Harrods' own silver workshop (the £400 invoice was sent to Selfridges) and stood for many years on Burbidge's desk .

Other pieces in the eclectic sale include an exceptionally rare Royal Navy Nordenfelt four-barrelled anti-torpedo gun, which is expected to make £60,000-70,000 ($101,520-118,440).

The lot dates to circa 1880-1885 and was designed for rapid fire against the new breed of fast-moving torpedo boats. It was quickly superseded by quick-firing guns and fell into obscurity, with only a handful known to have survived.

The sale will also feature an 11th century Viking broadsword and a rare leg-locking oak capture chair.

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