Chain-smoking ex-Chancellor’s golden cigarette case put up for auction

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Chain-smoking ex-Chancellor’s golden cigarette case put up for auction
Helmut Schmidt. Photo: DPA

Helmut Schmidt was almost as famous for the cigarette that he permanently held to his mouth as for his time as Germany’s leader. Now you have the chance to buy something that says Schmidt like few other objects.


Schmidt finally kicked the bucket at the grand old age of 96 in late 2015, despite puffing on fags for 80 years of his life. He only gave up his legendary habit a month before his death after an operation for what is popularly known as "smoker's leg" left him in intensive care.

The Social Democrat was Chancellor of Germany from 1974 until 1982 and has a sound posthumous reputation in Germany thanks to his resilient fight against the left-wing RAF terror organization during the 1970s.

The cigarette case. Photo: DPA

Now an auctioneer in the Lüneburger Heide, north Germany, is putting one of his cigarette cases up for auction. The case in question was given to Schmidt as a gift on his 60th birthday in 1978 by the then President of Germany Walter Scheel, the Schloss Ahlden auction house announced on Friday.

The case is engraved with a German eagle, the symbol of the Bundesrepublik, as well as the inscription “unity, justice, freedom” and a personal note from Scheel. It has an estimated value of €26,500.

At the same auction a portrait of Schmidt by the expressionist painter Oskar Kokoschka will also go on sale.

Both objects come from the possessions of Ruth Loah, Schmidt’s last partner before he died.


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