An eclectic collection of Winston Churchill memorabilia acquired by the great man’s personal nurse in the 1950s is to go under the hammer at auction.
The late Ivan Sheppard lived with the former wartime leader and prime minister at his home in Chartwell, Kent.
They include photographs, letters, Churchill’s hatbox labelled ’10 Downing Street SW’, feathers from Chartwell’s swans, luggage labels and cigar boxes.
Some photos show Churchill, resplendent in a white suit, on holiday with Aristotle Onassis.
Others show him in his painting studio and celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife Clementine.
Julian Smith from Duke’s, said: “It is a first for us to hold a sale at The Tank Museum, and there will also be a militaria fair on the day.
“The items from Churchill were collected by his nurse Ivan Sheppard who lived with him at Chartwell for several years in the late 1950s.
“Ivan greatly respected and loved Churchill and treasured all these possessions which the family wanted kept together.
“They hope it might be purchased by an institution or museum.
“Churchill was served by Ivan shortly after he finished second spell as Prime Minister and while he remained an MP, and the pair kept in touch afterwards.
“Among the items are Churchill’s hatbox in which he kept his famous top hat, and personalised luggage labels with the destination of the trip added by Ivan.
“The most eye-catching items are photos of Churchill on holiday with the Onassis family which show him in a splendid attire, cigar in mouth and even flashing his famous ‘V’ sign.
“There is a wonderful shot of Churchill and his wife being driven through Istanbul by Aristotle Onassis in a white sports car.
“Among the photographs are some touching ones of Churchill and his wife Clementine on their 50th wedding anniversary.
“All together this collection comprises around 60 items which will be of great interest to all collectors of Churchilliana.
“Many are unique and have been held by the vendor and his family for more than 60 years.”
The sale is to be held on Saturday 6th November and the estimate is £10,000 to £15,000.
Nik Wyness from the museum said: “The Militaria Fair is a fascinating new event for The Tank Museum and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming Duke’s for an auction that is expecting bids to come in from around the world.
“The Tank Museum will be open as usual and visitors will be able to view an interesting display of the lots being sold and take part in the auction should anything take their fancy.
But tank enthusiasts shouldn’t get too excited – The Tank Museum isn’t offering any of its collections for sale.
“As collection of national importance, we would never sell accessioned collection items – but occasionally auctions like this offer museums like ours the opportunity to obtain items or personal memorabilia that make our collections broader.”
For more information contact Ed Baker at Deep South Media on 07788392965