Winston Churchill-smoked cigar to auction

A cigar half-smoked by Winston Churchill is coming to auction.

Churchill smoked the relic while recuperating from hip surgery at the Middlesex Hospital, London in 1962. 

Winston Churchill cigar
Winston Churchill refused to give up the cigars while in hospital

Churchill, aged 87 at the time, had broken his hip falling out of bed while holidaying in Monaco, and was flown back to the UK for the operation.

A student nurse retrieved the cigar from an ashtray, wrapped it in a "Middlesex Hospital Soiled Dressing Disposal Bag", and gave it to her younger brother.

Her brother is now consigning it to the October 15 auction at Duke's of Dorchester in the UK.

Cigars are synonymous with Britain's wartime leader, meaning collectors compete fiercely whenever one turns up for auction.

While no estimate is available, another half-finished Churchill cigar auctioned for £4,500 ($6,910) in a UK sale in 2010.

Dukes' Timothy Medhurst commented: "This cigar marks a pivotal moment for Sir Winston Churchill.

"Churchill had already experienced many injuries and to have such a devastating injury occur at such an old age was a threat to his stalwart 'British Bulldog' image.

"This injury in 1962 was also a poignant moment in Churchill's personal life - his beloved poodle Rufus II died whilst he was in hospital recovering."

Following the surgery Churchill contracted bronchitis and pneumonia, but refused to give up the cigars. He recovered and lived a further three years.

A Winston Churchill artwork is expected to auction for £250,000 ($371,550) later today.

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