Signature collection featuring Dickens and Churchill sold at auction

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A collection of more than 1,000 signatures from famous historical figures from the past five centuries, including Charles Dickens, Sir Winston Churchill and the Duke of Wellington, has fetched a total hammer price of £36,065 at auction.

Jon Evans amassed the collection, which also included the signatures of Rudyard Kipling, William Wordsworth and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, over a period of 50 years up until his death, aged 90, in 2007.

The earliest signature was from the 1st Duke of Marlborough from 1697. And one of the most interesting signatures is that of Charles Dickens on a Coutts £35 cheque for a piece of silver in 1861.

Most former prime ministers from Robert Walpole to Sir Winston Churchill through to Tony Blair have their signatures featured in either bound albums or signed books, as well as ex-Soviet statesman Mikhail Gorbachev.

And the collection, which auctioneers described as "breathtaking", also features photographs signed by the first men to land on the moon, including Buzz Aldrin. A picture signed by Neil Armstrong fetched £2,585, including buyers' premium, alone.

Passionate about politics, Mr Evans, from Worthing, West Sussex, was a former magician turned anti-vivisection campaigner, who gathered some of the signatures personally from encounters with famous faces.

The collection fetched a total hammer price of £36,065, and £42,376 including buyers' premium, during a 100% sale at Campbells Auctioneers of Worthing.

Auctioneer Paul Campbell said: "It's been such a privilege to turn the pages of one man's life and passion and to see and consider the history he brought together. I was so pleased to see such competitive bidding in both the auction room and online."