In the News

Four Days of Unmissable Events - Rare Books London 2019

The second weekend of June 2019 promises to be unmissable for book lovers... read more

America's Rarest Cartoon Cheering the Boston Tea Party Surfaces at Heritage Auctions

Dallas, TX - America’s rarest, rabble-rousing poke-in-the-eye to British Parliament - a seldom-seen political... read more

Assistance Requested: Carnegie Library Theft

In an effort to aid in the recovery of materials missing as a result... read more

Groundbreaking Swedish Underground Exhibition at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, Sept. 8-9

It’s the largest known collection of artwork and photography produced by the leading Swedish... read more

Early Details on the 42nd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Nov. 16-18

Boston - The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... read more

Christie's Presents the Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Collection of Photographic Masterworks

New York - Christie's announces the sale of An American Journey: The Diann G... read more

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Announces 2018 Finalists

Dayton, Ohio - Recognizing the power of literature to promote peace and reconciliation, the... read more

Poster Auctions International, Inc. Unveils New Poster Price Guide

New York - Poster Auctions International, Inc., has unveiled its all-new Poster Price Guide,... read more

Follow us on TwitterLike us on Facebook
Auction Guide
Advertise with Us
2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Maps and Memoirs

Cigar Butts and Scrap Paper

Winston Churchill’s old stogie, worth more than $15,000 at auction.

Churchill’s Cigar Butt, Keys of Aylsham, on January 28-29, £9,775 ($15,835) and Neville Chamberlain’s Airline Ticket, Mullocks of Ludlow, on January 19, £9,360 ($15,165)

It was in 1941 that Nellie Goble, picked up an iconic souvenir from a 10 Downing Street ashtray when her boss, Winston Churchill, was suddenly called away to a cabinet meeting. Sixty years on, that Havana cigar butt generated enormous pre-sale interest in this Norfolk sale, and news that it made a tidy sum has seen the auctioneers inundated with offers to sell other items of Churchillian ashtrayana.

Winston’s predecessor as Britain’s Prime Minister was Neville Chamberlain and, perhaps unfairly, the abiding image one has of him is the 1938 newsreel footage in which he waives his ‘Peace for Our Time’ document as he disembarks from the aircraft that had taken him to a Munich meeting with Hitler, Mussolini, and the French leader, Daladier. Sadly, the Munich Agreement in which Chamberlain had put so much faith proved as worthless as scrap paper, and within the year, Europe was at war.

Neville Chamberlain’s ticket to Munich.

Part of the ticket issued by British Airways to Chamberlain for that historic flight (found among the papers of George William Demmy, a senior airline manager at the time) was another link with Britain’s wartime history seen at auction in recent weeks.

This was the top copy of a ticket that would originally have had two or more layers—the back is carbonized—and it is worth noting that while this sold for £9,360 ($15,165) to a British collector, another part of the ticket, according to the saleroom’s specialist, Richard Westwood Brookes, was sold by Christie’s back in 1992 for £13,600—just over $22,000 at current exchange rates.

Home Mountaineering and The Wimbledon Serving Tube

Cartoonist William Heath Robinson’s The Wimbledon Serving Tube.

Cartoons by William Heath Robinson, Lawrences of Crewkerne on January 21, £20,400 ($33,455) & £13,200 ($21,650)

Last year, these Somerset auctioneers enjoyed considerable success with sales of works by the English artist, illustrator, and cartoonist William Heath Robinson (1872-1944), and here they were offering a further selection of 139 drawings in twenty lots—all from the same collection and mostly acquired directly from the artist’s family.

Cartoonist William Heath Robinson’s Carrying out the Correspondence Course for Mountain Climbing in the Home.

Many lots comprised groups of comic drawings for a 1943 book, How to Run a Communal Home, but among the larger and more expensive individual works, at £20,400, was an ink and watercolor drawing of one of those elaborate and unlikely but ingenious devices and stratagems that characterise much of WHR’s more familiar work. So much so that the phrase ‘Heath Robinson’ has entered the language as term for somewhat suspect, slightly crazy inventions or constructions. Many now remember WHR (one of three Heath Robinson brothers who were all talented artists and illustrators) only for his comic work, not for his more serious commissions. Carrying out the Correspondence Course for Mountain Climbing in the Home was first published in the December 1928 issue of the American journal, The Sportsman. On the pages of the new British journal, Piccadilly, in the summer of the following year, was an ink and wash drawing of The Wimbledon Serving Tube, one of those bizarre contraptions that Heath Robinson had in mind when he wrote: “I have to try and enable my public to trace the action of my grotesque machines right through, so as to leave them with the subconscious feeling, not that the machine would actually work, but that it ought to work.”

Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next