Letter to Peter Cushing from Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz, £1350 at Canterbury Auction Galleries.

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Fans could bid for more than 400 lots of a very personal nature when a wide array of objects owned by the man famed for Hammer Horror Dracula and Frankenstein roles and early Star Wars appearances came to auction on October 1.

It was held at The Canterbury Auction Galleries (27% buyer’s premium inc VAT), near to the Kent seaside town of Whitstable where Cushing later settled (and was posthumously given the ultimate tribute: the local Wetherspoon pub is named after him).

While the highest-estimate lot did not sell on the day - slippers worn by Cushing while filming his role as the Death Star commander Grand Moff Tarkin in the first, 1977, Star Wars film, because the high costume boots pinched his size 12 feet - many others met a very enthusiastic response.

Top-seller was An Autobiography, comprising a large lever arch folder containing this handwritten manuscript, 237 pages, 8 x 10in (20.5 x 25.5cm), signed and dated 14/1/85. It sold for £4000 - 20 times the low estimate.

Guided at £200-300 was a lot containing the published version of An Autobiography along with a book titled Past Forgetting by Cushing. The two hardback blue leather volumes with gold tooling, published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1986 and 1988, were both signed by Cushing to the title page and Past Forgetting also featured a dedication to Cushing from Peter Gray, a long standing friend. They made £1800.

Aside from pubs named after you, another huge accolade of days gone by (before the show ended in 2003) was an appearance on This Is Your Life. Cushing’s big red book in red leather, dated January 24, 1990, sold for £3200 (guide £1000-1500). It contained 27 photographs taken during the filming of the episode, a selection of letters from Thames Television and Michael Aspel and an envelope containing two pages of cuttings and writing by Cushing.

Star Wars interest included a rare letter, dated Dec 1977, from producer Gary Kurtz. Carrying a very early Star Wars logo, with a figure wielding a light sabre, it awarded the actor a bonus of $6000 for his “dedication, perseverance, creativity, and hard work”. Estimated at £400- 500, it took £1350.

Personal appeal


Bird drawings from a Peter Cushing memorabilia lot sold for £2200 at Canterbury Auction Galleries.

However, it was the deeply personal material that dominated this auction. Cushing seemed to be something of a hoarder, keeping copious scrapbooks and snippets from his extensive career.

He was also a competent amateur artist. A sketchbook, containing sketches, cartoons, quotes, notes and some newspaper cuttings, in hardback blue covers, realised £1650 (est: £350-500).

Three scrapbooks created by Cushing sold at £2200. Two were filled with his coloured drawings of birds with comical annotations, both signed to the back page, one partially filled with costume sketches and cuttings, and they were offered with a copy of the booklet Birds as Seen by Peter Cushing published by Seaway Press.

Cushing’s mind worked in many often bizarre ways. A flight of fancy he produced was The Bois Saga, with just 500 copies published by ‘the Oyster Press, Whitstable’. The handwritten script, with illustrations, sold for £2600. Volume I was signed with Begun 1951 to the title page; Volume II’s final page was signed and dated January 1994.

Cushing wrote the book for the daughter of Joyce Broughton, his secretary for 35 years, who suffered from dyslexia.