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Castro Prison Cigar Box 09.06.22

Castro Prison Cigar Box 09.06.22

Hi fellow collector

This is a first for me.

I've handled some truly rare and remarkable items during my career.

But I've never offered you an artefact that genuinely rewrites history.

A piece that solves a 70-year-old mystery.

Until now, that is.

Right now you have the chance to own a piece of history like no other.

Direct from one of the world's finest private collections.

This is the absolute definition of 'museum quality'.

And it all starts with a simple wooden box.A handmade Cuban cigar box which hides a remarkable 70-year-old secret...

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This is a vintage Upmann No. 4 cigar box. Handmade in Cuba in 1953.

Carefully preserved. Still rich with the scent of tobacco after all these years.

But it's also a weapon which helped bring down a government.

Because this particular cigar box belonged to Fidel Castro.

And from inside the confines of a prison cell...

He used it to plan the Cuban Revolution.

It's a truly pivotal piece of history. One of the most important artefacts from the Cuban Revolution ever offered for sale.

It was hidden for 60 years. Only a handful of people ever knew it even existed.

And the incredible story behind it has never been told until now.

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In 1953 Castro was captured by police, after his planned guerilla attack on the Moncada military base ended in failure.

In 1953 Fidel Castro was a young lawyer determined to overthrow Cuba's military dictator Fulgencio Batista.

But his plan to spark a revolution on July 26 by attacking the Moncada army barracks ended in bloody failure.

Many of those who took part were caught, tortured and executed without trial.

Fidel and his brother Raul escaped with their lives, but were sentenced to 15 years at the Presidio Modelo (Model Prison) on the Isla de Pinos.

However, despite being confined to the hospital wing and sometimes in solitary confinement, Castro could not be silenced.

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Castro was sentenced to 15 years' incarceration at the Presidio Modelo on the Isla de Pinos. But the prison walls couldn't silence him.Outside the prison walls, the '26th of July Movement' continued to grow. And the words of his famous speech 'History Will Absolve Me' became more significant than ever.

“I warn you, I am just beginning! If there is in your hearts a vestige of love for your country, love for humanity, love for justice, listen carefully... my voice will not be stifled – it will rise from my breast even when I feel most alone...”

But for decades, historians couldn't understand how Castro was able to lead the revolution so potently from his prison cell.

How did he ensure his voice was still heard?

The answer lies with this very box.

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The cigar box was built with sliding panels and a secret compartment, in which Castro smuggled his messages to the outside world.

Castro devised a plan to transfer messages in and out of prison without being intercepted by the guards.

It was a custom-made cigar box, designed to resemble a regular H.Upmann brand box, but with a difference...

secret compartment accessed by sliding panels at each end, in which letters could be hidden.

It was nicknamed ‘El Buzon De Correos’ - The Post Box – and was first delivered to Castro full of cigars in December 1953.

The plan worked perfectly, and because of this cigar box Castro was able to plan the Cuban Revolution under the noses of his captors.

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Natty Revuelta Clews bravely smuggled Castro's messages in and out of prison using the cigar box.

But his 'Post Box' messages needed a messenger – and she came in the unlikely form of wealthy socialite Natty Revuelta Clews.

Clews sold her jewels and risked everything to support the uprising. Her bravery and commitment to the revolutionary cause were as vital as the cigar box itself.

And the base of the box bears witness to this, personally signed and inscribed by Castro in his prison cel:

’For Natty. Always remembered / Never forgotten. December 8th, 1953 - Fidel.’’

When Castro was released in 1955, following a campaign to secure his freedom, the pair began a romantic relationship that would last the rest of their lives.

And it's thanks to Clews that this remarkable cigar box still survives today.

She kept it in her personal collection until she passed away in 2015, when it was acquired by the present owner during the sale of her estate.

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Castro personally signed and inscribed the box for Natty Revuelta Clews from his prison cell in December 1953, in thanks for her dedication to the revolutionary cause.

But here's the remarkable thing.

Only a handful of people in Castro's most trusted circle ever knew about the existence of the box.

So even after it was acquired in 2015, its true purpose remained hidden.

It wasn't until 2018 that a former Castro bodyguard told the owner to check for the sliding panels.

And when he did, he found something magical. A handwritten message from Clews to Castro, still tucked away inside the secret compartment after all these years.

(To read the translated note, click here).

If you're a collector who loves history, this cigar box represents the ultimate discovery.

  • An object perfectly preserved for decades
  • Completely unknown to experts
  • With cast-iron provenance and a full history of ownership
  • Which changes our understanding of a major historic event
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This handwritten note from Clews to Fidel Castro was discovered in 2018, still hidden inside the secret compartment of the cigar box.

So imagine the scene for a moment.

Fidel Castro, sat on a creaking prison bed, casually takes the final cigar from his trusty box.

He lights it, exhales a plume of blue smoke across the humid cell and nods silently to a passing guard.

Once alone, he swiftly slides open a secret compartment in the box and hides his new message to the outside world.

Natty will be visiting soon, to collect the box and deliver his plans.

He may be imprisoned, but his mind is free. And with every day he becomes more determined to lead a revolution – no matter what it takes.

Now, 70 years on... imagine that same cigar box sat in front of you.

The weight of history it contains is incredible. It carries an aura so powerful you can feel the energy in your fingertips when you touch it.

This is truly historic memorabilia at its finest.

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Fidel Castro's prison cigar box. One of the most important items from the Cuban Revolution ever offered for sale anywhere in the world.

There's no denying Fidel Castro is a divisive figure. To some he's a political hero. To many others he's a brutal dictator.

But it's impossible to deny his influence over world events.

From the revolution and the Bay of Pigs invasion, to the Cold War and the Cuban Missile crisis...

Fidel Castro's shadow towers over the 20th century.

For good or ill, he helped shape the modern world just as much as JFK or Winston Churchill.

This cigar box is by no means a celebration of his life or legacy. But it is an artefact of supreme historic importance.

Items like this appear on the market once in a lifetime. Only a handful of collectors in the world ever get to own them.

This is your opportunity.

You will never have a better chance to own an object which changed the world.

And it's up for auction on my website right now.Click here to bid now

This remarkable cigar box is part of The Fidel Castro and Che Guevara Personal Property Collection.

It features 39 lots from one of the finest private collections of historic memorabilia I've ever handled.

The full catalogue is available to view online here. Bidding is now live, and closes on Thursday June 23.

For more information on the cigar box, or any other lot in the auction, email me at

Or call me on +44 (0) 1534 639 998.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks for reading,

Paul Fraser,

Chairman, Just Collecting.

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