Fierce bidding pushes up price of Churchill's love letters

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The Independent Online
A COLLECTION of letters in which Sir Winston Churchill expressed an undying passion for a woman who had rejected his marriage proposal sold for pounds 76,757 at Christie's, South Kensington, yesterday, writes Dalya Alberge.

Although the nine previously unpublished letters offer new insight into his character - and nothing comparable is likely to appear on the market again - their presale estimate was just pounds 9,000. After fierce bidding, seven letters were bought by the London dealers, Fine Art Society, for Steve Forbes, elder son of Malcolm Forbes, the late magazine publisher.

The most expensive of the letters went for pounds 20,900 - a world record for a Churchill letter. Society beauty Muriel Wilson, who turned down the great statesman, was the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate.

A letter by the mystic monk Rasputin, one of the most notorious characters in Russian history, is to be sold at auction in London next week. Sotheby's said that the letter, a rare example of the semi-literate monk's handwriting, could fetch up to pounds 12,000.

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