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Lot 26: Financially Related Winston Churchill Letter about his "Rothschild Investments"
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
October 26, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: “The Rothschild investment” ********** CHURCHILL, WINSTON. (1874-1965). British statesman and author; prime minister from 1940-45 and 1951-55. TLS. With brief handwritten emendations. (“Yours sincerely, Winston S. Churchill”). 1p. Small 4to. Cap-d’Ail, France, September 16, 1957. On his Hyde Park Gate stationery the address of which has been struck through. To Mr. A. L. Ball of Lloyds Bank. ********** “Many thanks for your letter and the account. I think there is an error which overdraws the expenses in connection with the Rothschild investment. What actually happened was that I decided on their advice to sell one half of my holding of about ₤10,000. This was a complicated transaction, and I had never expected to make such a very large profit as you show in your account. The reduction which affects the total of the account you now send me is much more in keeping with what I expected. We are only dealing with expectations here, so that my comment would be that ₤13,494 [number in holograph] instead of ₤16,000 would be more correct. This in no way alters the facts, it merely explains them. Thank you so much for all the trouble you are taking.” ********** Churchill’s personal financial history is checkered; He gambled, could be profligate with money and lost heavily in the 1929 Wall Street crash. He kept himself afloat by writing incessantly, penning columns and numerous books and on numerous occasions, receiving large sums from friends. “A common thread of exceptional risk-taking unites Churchill’s financial dealings and his political career. This was never more clearly on display than in the 1930s, when he was a married man in his fifties with four dependent children and already borrowing today’s equivalent of more than ₤2.5 ($3.75 million). Yet, during the decade, he gambled heavily enough on his holidays to lose an average of ₤40,000 each year in today’s money… Whatever the driving force behind the risks he took, Churchill left behind him a trail of financial failures that required numerous rescues by family, friends and acquaintances,” (No More Champagne: Churchill and His Money, Lough). Our letter concerns transactions carried out by Lloyds Bank where Churchill kept his deposit accounts as well as ₤20,000 worth of securities and is likely about the sale of some of these investments. ********** Churchill writes from La Capponcina, the villa of Lord Beaverbrook (Max Aitken) located across the bay from Monte Carlo, where Churchill enjoyed swimming, painting and writing. Beaverbrook, an influential press magnate and former MP, held several important ministerial positions under Lloyd George and, later, Churchill, including Lord Privy Seal. In addition to being one of Churchill’s most valued wartime advisors, he was a close personal friend. It was at La Capponcina, in 1949, that Churchill suffered his first stroke, a fact that Beaverbrook kept hidden from his colleagues in the press. ********** Folded into quarters with a single file hole and small pin holes in the upper left corner, and in very good condition.