Novelty James Dixon hip flask – £2300 at Minster Auctions.

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Made in silverplate and leather and given titles such as Spirit of the Ages, Paradise Regained or The Traveller’s Friend, they open via a secret gilt bayonet detachable corner cap. Typically they bring £100-200 at auction.

However, the example offered at Minster Auctions (20% buyer’s premium) in Leominster on August 18 was potentially a little special.


Detail of the hip flask showing the dedication. 

To the top right corner, it is inscribed with the dedication Happy Birthday Home Secretary 30th Nov 1910. It is thus believed to have been a gift to Winston Churchill in his first year as home secretary in the Asquith government.

For this reason (and despite its far from perfect condition) it was given a guide of £1900- 2200 and, in fact, tipped over the top estimate to bring £2300 from an online bidder.