Churchill ashtray sells for �4200

A humble butter dish used by Sir Winston Churchill as an ashtray for his cigar smoke has sold at an Aylsham auction for a staggering �4,200.The silver shell was used by Churchill at his dining and debating club in London and went under the hammer yesterday at Keys auction house in Aylsham.

A humble butter dish used by Sir Winston Churchill as an ashtray for his cigar smoke has sold at an Aylsham auction for a staggering �4,200.

The silver shell was used by Churchill at his dining and debating club in London and went under the hammer at Keys auction house in Aylsham.

The 200-year-old dish was expected to reach �1,500 but for sold last week for more than double to a private UK-based buyer that because of its links to one of the world's most iconic cigar smokers.

A picture of Winston waving a V for victory salute with a trademark cigar clamped between his jaws is one of the most instantly recognised images of the 20th century.

William King, of Keys, said: 'Anything that has got provenance to someone who is an important historical figure, like Churchill, is always going to an unknown quantity to value.

'As a butter dish it only has a value of so much, but the fact it was used by Churchill himself was always going to make it a tricky one to put a price on.'

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The dish, made in London in 1801 and intended to grace elegant Georgian dining tables, would be a fraction of the price without its Churchillian connection.

It was converted to its smoking use at the Other Club, a political retreat Churchill co-founded in London's Savoy Hotel 98 years ago.

It was later engraved and presented to a club stalwart Joyce Altham as a gift of appreciation for 40 years service by the Churchill family in 1965, the year Churchill died - six weeks after his last session at the Other Club.