Cigar smoked by Sir Winston Churchill nearly 80 years ago up for auction

A cigar smoked by Sir Winston Churchill nearly 80 years ago has been found in a glass jar and will be sold at auction.

The half-smoked "iconic piece of memorabilia" was given to a consul general in Rabat, Morocco by the wartime British prime minister.

Sir Winston gave Hugh Stonehewer-Bird the cigar, which he preserved in a glass jar, following a dinner party he hosted for Sir Winston on 29 August 1944.

Mr Stonehewer-Bird's family said the consul general treasured the cigar until his death in 1973 and now his relatives have decided it is time to sell it.

It will go under the hammer with Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers on 16 June with a guide price of £600 to £900.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: "It's amazing what turns up in glass jars.

"This is an iconic piece of memorabilia connected to one of Britain's most famous prime ministers and the Second World War.

"Churchill was renowned for his love of cigars and occasionally gave them as gifts to people who had helped him in any way.

"People went to great lengths to preserve them for posterity and, in this case, a glass jar has done an excellent job for 79 years.

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"The original handwritten label provides the provenance collectors like.

"We hope this item will excel under the hammer."

Churchill - who was prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and 1951 to 1955 - died in January 1965, aged 90. He is one of just three British political leaders who have been given a state funeral.