Spink is honored to have been instructed to offer approximately 50 medals and awards presented and bestowed to the late Sir Christopher Lee, C.B.E., C.St.J.. The group charts the life and career of the legendary actor, from active service as a young RAF officer in the Second World War through to his British Film Institute (B.F.I.) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. The evening auction will take place at Spink’s London headquarters on 1 November 2017. The catalogue will include an introduction by Dame Harriet Walter, D.B.E., Sir Christopher’s niece.
Lady Lee: “Christopher was greatly appreciative of the recognition of his fans and his peers, and these honors and awards adorned our apartment for many years, bringing him great pleasure. It’s fitting that now a wider audience might have the opportunity to enjoy them, and to celebrate so many high points of his life. These awards represent a lifetime of dedicated work and diverse experiences, starting with his role as a young R.A.F. officer in the Second World War, a period that went on to influence him throughout his life. He remains sorely missed but his family hope that the forthcoming auction will be a celebration of his life and achievements, and a catalyst for future owners of his awards to have many happy memories of their own. I am happy to confirm that a percentage of the sale proceeds will be donated to Denville Hall, Northwood, the retirement home for actors and actresses.”
David Erskine-Hill, Medal specialist at Spink:
“Sir Christopher Lee is an acting legend, and we’re thrilled to be celebrating his life and career at Spink by offering his medals and awards in October. The auction highlights the diversity of his achievements, from his World War II medals and his mention in despatches certificate to his CBE and Knight Bachelor’s Badge, as well as the numerous awards earned through an acting career lasting almost seven decades and in which he appeared in over 250 movies, as ‘Dracula’ in the Hammer movies, ‘Scaramanga’ in The Man with the Golden Gun, ‘Lord Summerisle’ in The Wicker Man, ‘Saruman’ in Lord of the Rings, and ‘Count Dooku’ in Star Wars, as well as so many other roles. We hope to welcome fans and admirers to Spink in October where we aim to celebrate a fascinating man, and a glittering career.”
The auction lots will be offered with estimates from £100 and with no reserves, presenting an exciting opportunity to acquire a piece of memorabilia for a relatively modest price. In presenting the memorabilia of an acting legend, this sale follows the success of Spink’s auction of personal articles from the life and career of Bruce Lee, which took place in Hong Kong in December 2013, and at which his yellow jumpsuit from ‘Game of Death’ sold for over $100,000.
The medals and awards on offer will include:
- The campaign medals awarded to Sir Christopher Lee for his efforts and active service in the Second World War, where he served as a liaison officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. He was mentioned in dispatches for gallant and distinguished services in 1944; the auction will also include the certificate (estimate: £800 to £1,200).
- Sir Christopher’s official insignia and awards, including his Knight Bachelor’s Badge (he was knighted in 2009) and his C.B.E. (2001) (estimate: £800 to £1,200). Further distinctions include his Commander’s badge of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2012); and that related to his appointment as Commander of the Order of St. John (C. St. J.) in 1997.
- The British Film Institute Fellowship Award, presented to him by Johnny Depp in 2013 (estimate: £2,000 to £3,000).
- Sir Christopher’s ‘World Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him by Mikhail Gorbachev at a ceremony in Vienna in 2003. It comprises a finely cast bronze figure of a seated Atlas and weighs-in at about eight kilos. As its grateful recipient later recalled in his biography Lord of Misrule, it was quite a struggle to carry his newly acquired honor off stage: when ‘…the Pope received his he very wisely made no effort to pick it up’ (estimate: £700 to £900).
- The U.N.I.C.E.F. Award of 2012 (estimate: £180 to £220) and his ‘Cinema for Peace’ Award of 2014 (estimate: £300 to £500), both presented to him at ceremonies in Berlin, the latter by Angelina Jolie.
- The ‘President’s Crystal Globe’ awarded at the 43rd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2008; Robert de Niro was similarly honored at the same occasion (estimate: £300 to £500).
SPINK LONDON | 69 Southampton Row | Bloomsbury | London | WC1B 4ET
* * *
Originally established by John Spink in London in 1666, Spink and Son Ltd is now the world’s premier auction house for collectibles, with unrivaled experience and expertise in the fields of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books, and fine wines. Headquartered in London, the company also holds regular auctions in New York, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. Spink and Sons received their first Royal Warrant for medals services to Queen Victoria in 1900.
Spink now holds two Royal Warrants for medal services to HM Queen Elizabeth, and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh; they also hold the Royal Warrant for philatelic services to HM Queen Elizabeth. With offices in London, New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year. Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.
British Medals Currently Available on eBay