A pair of Sir Winston Churchill’s custom-made ear plugs sold for £1,650 at an Aylsham auction on Friday.

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But the bid for the unusual item at Keys was dwarfed by the £16,500 stumped up for a rare first edition of Charles Darwin’s first published work.

Sir Winston had the earplugs made to help him have undisturbed afternoon power naps. They came complete with the original casts of Churchill’s ears, which they still fit snugly inside.

Andrew Bullock, head of Keys book department, admitted it had been difficult to put a guide price on the stately stoppers, which were eventually valued at £2,000.

He said: “During the war years in the cabinet office or war office there would be no end of bustle of activity so they would no doubt be important to block out any extraneous noise.”

On Thursday, three volumes of The Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle between the Years 1826 and 1836, plus an 1839 appendix, sold for £16,500 - against a guide price of £15,000-20,000.

Two volumes of A Natural History of Birds, written by Eleazar Albin “and carefully colour’d by his daughter and self”, published in 1731, sold for £6,600, within the estimated range of £6,000-8,000.

But a first edition of Dennis Wheatley’s first novel The Forbidden Territory, published in 1933, in its original dust jacket and estimated to fetch £2,000-2,500, went unsold.


  • For some reason I keep thinking of that old Derek and Clive tape...the worst job I ever had was clearing up......

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    Saturday, March 31, 2012

  • They couldn`t have heard the gavel.....

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, March 30, 2012

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