After the sale of Scarlett Johansson’s used tissue, a glass Justin Bieber once drank milk from and Britney Spears’ pregnancy test kit, ebay now presents… Steven Spielberg’s half-smoked cigar.
The legendary film-maker puffed on the stogy during the making of the hit World War Two mini-series, Band of Brothers, and it could be yours for £1,000.
It left his lips almost 20-year-ago, during a break in filming at Hatfield Aerodrome in Hertfordshire, and was rescued from the ashtray by a production runner on the wartime drama, who was a huge fan of Spielberg.
Now the cigar, along with other memorabilia from the Band of Brothers, is on sale on eBay. It has been mounted in a glass case alongside a photograph of the director smoking a similar cigar on set, and would make an impressive centre piece to any film buff’s coffee table.
Steven Spielberg’s half smoked cigar
‘I want someone to get it who loves him as I do,’ said Holly Francis, who has cherished the unusual piece of memorabilia since 2000 when she came across it in her first job in the movie business. Mrs Francis’ role on Band of Brothers was to assist Spielberg and his co-producer, Tom Hanks.
‘I don’t want to part with it for less than £1,000,’ she said. ‘It’s a good piece of treasure.’
Mrs Francis, who is married and has two daughters, aged 7 and 9, hopes to use the proceeds of the sale to fund a once in a lifetime family holiday to Japan to watch the 2020 Olympics and attend the opening of Super Nintendo World, in Osaka.
She was working with Spielberg regularly in 2000 and struck up a friendship with the director, who called her his ‘merciful angel’ because she kept him supplied with tea, coffee and his favourite: digestive biscuits.
Holly Francis (pictured above) had previously worked with Speilberg
In fact, one of Mrs Francis’ duties was to restrict the famous director, who produced blockbusters including, Jaws, the Indiana Jones series, E.T. Jurassic Park and Bridge of Spies to name a few, to just three biscuits per day.
‘He was such a kind person, he really cared’ said Mrs Francis, who lives in Hertfordshire, and continued to send digestives to Spielberg in the US after filming had finished. ‘He came off the set and he was smoking this cigar before he had to rush back on. He stubbed it out and I was emptying the ashtray, but being a humongous fan I could not throw it away.’
Along with the half-cigar, the lot on eBay includes a crew jacket, cap, World War Two slang sheets used by the cast and a pen knife engraved with Band of Brothers, among other items. The sale closes Sunday.
Band of Brothers was a war drama based on Stephen E. Ambrose’s book of the same name, which first aired in 2001. The series won an Emmy and Golden Globe for best mini-series that year.
It dramatized the history of ‘Easy’ Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division as they went from training in the United States to combat in Europe.
It starred Damian Lewis as Major Richard ‘Dick’ Winters, the show’s main character, a role which earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
The cigar is the latest in a line of weird and wacky celebrity leftovers that have been put up for sale. In 2005, CNN reported that a Canadian radio station had bought a pregnancy test kit allegedly used by Britney Spears for $5,001 [£3,800] and in 2008 a tissue used by Scarlett Johansson sold for $5,300 [£4,000] to raise money for the hunger charity USA Harvest.
In 2016, a glass Justin Bieber drank milk from at a pub during a UK tour was snaffled by a waitress, who put it up for sale on ebay, attracting bids of tens of thousands of pounds.
For Mrs Francis, her career in the movie industry peaked with that job as assistant to Spielberg. She went on to become an events and marketing manager with the tech giant, Apple, where she has worked with British bands Snow Patrol and Fightstar. She is now launching her own business.
‘To have Steven Spielberg in Hatfield was such a big deal,’ said Mrs Francis. ‘No one knew he was there. It was all about Steven for me.’