Harold Wilson’s pipes and cigars set for auction

A raincoat and several trademark pipes owned by Harold Wilson are set to go under the hammer next week in what is being billed as an auction of a “prime minister’s entire life”.

Christmas cards from the royal family, historic photographs and dozens of unopened Cuban cigars will also feature in the sale – alongside a painting presented to Mr Wilson’s wife, Mary, by the Prince of Wales.

Derbyshire-based auctioneer Hansons has highlighted 14 “favourite” items among 721 lots being sold off at Bishton Hall in Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire, on Friday May 10.

The collection, from the estate of Lady Wilson, who died last year aged 102, carried an initial estimate of £65,000 but has been predicted to far exceed that.

Hansons associate director Jim Spencer, who has been cataloguing the collection, said: “It’s an unprecedented sale.

“Everything was kept over the years, every gift or signed book or presentation album of photographs.

“I don’t think a prime minister’s entire life has come up for auction like this before. But here it is – gifts from presidents, photographs, letters, Christmas cards, everything.”

One of several pipes being auctioned off next week which were once used by the late Harold Wilson. (Credit: Hansons/PA)
One of Harold Wilson’s tradmark pipes, which is being auctioned next week (Hansons/PA)

Mr Wilson, who was born in Huddersfield, served as prime minister from 1964 to 1970 and from 1974 to 1976. He died in 1995 aged 79.

Mr Spencer added: “Harold and Mary Wilson were held in high regard by presidents, politicians and royalty, and their treasured mementos act as a wonderful reminder of their lives.”

Among the items expected to exceed their guide price at the sale is a 1990 watercolour by Prince Charles of a chateau in Burgundy, with accompanying correspondence.

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