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Andrew Smith, Winchester June 29 Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent

The other was a lot catalogued as a signed photograph of Winston Churchill with a letter and carried printed hopes of just £30-50.

Initially, because the signature was on the mount rather than the photo, there were concerns that it might have been a facsimile.

But shortly before the catalogue went to press, it was found that concealed behind the photo was a signed letter from the great man to a Mrs Sheild, dated February 1952, thanking a loyal party worker for her efforts in the October 1951 election which returned the Tories to power.

Word went round, the auctioneers had scores of inquiries and the lot went to the trade at £1050.