Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Winston Churchill’s sofa sells for £7,500 at auction

A sofa that had once belonged to Britain’s war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill has fetched 7,500 pounds at auction, despite being valued at just 80 pounds.

Originally destined for a skip, the battered and ripped Chesterfield was saved when the brother of the late owner mentioned the connection.

The settee was found in the shed of a tumbledown Northamptonshire vicarage by auctioneers, after they had been asked to undertake a probate valuation when its owner died.

Jonathan Humbert, of JP Humbert Auctioneers, revealed that the sofa would have to be disposed of as it was no longer usable.

However, said the auctioneer, the plan was reconsidered after the owner’s brother remarked that it was a shame because it had once belonged to Churchill.

“We were going to throw it away but when the chap mentioned its Churchill link, we thought we’d run it for a bit of a laugh,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“On the one hand it’s clapped out, but on the other hand it’s got this illustrious heritage. Who knows what famous rears sat on it,” he added.

According to the brother, the late-19th-century leather settee had graced Churchill’s private Whitehall office during his second premiership from 1951 to 1955, before he gave it to a friend from Northamptonshire.

It was the same friend that had passed it on to its last owner, who then stored it in his shed when it became too old to use.

Humbert said that he spelt out to interested buyers that there was no written proof of the sofa’s provenance, just a spoken record, but that did little to dent their interest.

“It shows the high regard with which Churchill is still held throughout the world.

And so much for the global credit crunch. Everything is worth what someone is prepared to pay for it,” he said. (ANI)

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