A cigar smoked by Sir Winston Churchill nearly 80 years ago has been found in a glass jar and is set to be sold at auction.

The wartime leader gave a half-smoked cigar to Hugh Stonehewer-Bird, consul general in Rabat, Morocco between 1943 and 1945, following a dinner party he hosted for the wartime British prime minister on August 29 1944.

Mr Stonehewer-Bird preserved the cigar in a glass jar and treasured it until his death in 1973 at the age of 81, his family said.

Now, his relatives have decided it is time to sell the piece of memorabilia after 50 years of looking after it and it will go under the hammer with Derbyshire-based Hansons Auctioneers on June 16 with a guide price of £600 to £900.

Cigar half-smoked by Sir Winston Churchill in a jar
The wartime prime minister gave the cigar to Hugh Stonehewer-Bird, consul general in Rabat, Morocco, at an event Hugh hosted for him during the conflict (Phil Barnett/PA)

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “It’s amazing what turns up in glass jars.

“This is an iconic piece of memorabilia connected to one of Britain’s most famous prime ministers and the Second World War.

Charles Hanson, of Hansons Auctioneers, pictured with the cigar, which has been preserved in a jar for nearly 80 years (Mark Laban/Hansons/PA)

“Churchill was renowned for his love of cigars and occasionally gave them as gifts to people who had helped him in any way.

“People went to great lengths to preserve them for posterity and, in this case, a glass jar has done an excellent job for 79 years.

“The original handwritten label provides the provenance collectors like.

“We hope this item will excel under the hammer.”

More information about the auction can be found online.