Spending Time with Sir Winston Churchill (Part I)

I know that subject line sounds like bait, but hear me out for a second, I think you’ll enjoy this story. I take the time to share it because I am often told by people of all ages that they can’t find a way to make money doing what they love. Or they can’t find an opportunity to mix their passions. I think this story will open your mind a bit to what is possible…

I’ve always been a fan of Winston Churchill. My grandfather used to quote him often and it seems like you can’t go through life without hearing his quips and wisdom out of the mouths of global leaders and cocktail drinkers alike.

Anyhow, a couple of years ago, a client of mine, Dr. Yar Zuk, posted something on my Facebook wall. I got a notification, and as usual, I went to check it out. I was amused at what I saw but pretty quickly decided to laugh and move on. Dr. Zuk is a very interesting guy. He is a dentist out of Canada and has done some interesting things in his business but one of the most unique, attention getting PR moves I have ever seen, was when he bought John Lennon’s tooth. Yes, he really bought the tooth of the legendary John Lennon of the Beatles rock band from an auction house. I found it amusing that a dentist had bought a famous tooth, and apparently I wasn’t the only one! It quickly went viral as the Doc took the tooth on “one last world tour.” Hilarious, entertaining and smart all at one time!

So, what does this have to do with me, Facebook and Sir Winston Churchill? Well, the link Dr. Zuk posted on my wall happened to be a link to a London auction house that was selling a cigar that was half-smoked by none other than Sir Winston Churchill. Knowing that I like the smell of cigars, Dr. Zuk shared it with me.

And it wasn’t just that he had half-smoked the cigar. It was where and when it happened. He smoked it at the Bermuda Conference in 1953 alongside Dwight D. Eisenhower and French Premier, Joseph Laniel. The three were meeting to discuss the future of their countries’ relationships with post WWII Russia, atomic energy, and Egypt. It was arguably the most powerful gathering of world leaders since the Pottsdam Conference in 1945, when the U.S., UK and USSR heads of state met to decide how to punish Nazi war criminals. As the story goes, he was called out of the room and as the meeting abruptly ended, he lightly stubbed out his cigar and headed out. There were two guards standing outside the room, who were asked to go in and tidy up the meeting room. One of the guards grabbed a few miniature flags as memorabilia, and one rather crafty guard, grabbed the half smoking cigar, stubbed it carefully, and kept it. He, in fact, kept it for more than 50 years. In the early 2000’s the long-retired soldier sold it to a collector, who then brought the cigar to auction at a premier London auction house in 2014.

I still remember the day I started to think about it seriously. I was on a shoot for the movie “Visioneer: The Peter Diamandis Story” with a few members of my crew and I showed them the auction online. It didn’t take longer than a few minutes before they too, like Dr. Zuk, thought it was a piece of history I should own. It was a Celebrity Branding® story like none other, and being that we own the Celebrity Branding® agency, it seemed all too easy of a fit.

On that fateful lunch break, I decided to set a price I was willing to pay, and I bid on it, and got back to work.

As you have probably already guessed by now, as fate would have it, I won the auction and soon the cigar was “across the pond” and sitting in my office.

It didn’t quite arrive looking majestically

But it didn’t take long for us to fix that!

What happened next was even more interesting….click here to read part II)

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