By BRIAN KRAPF
This month’s article offers a slight departure from the usual presentation of artifacts documenting the career of Sir Winston Churchill. Included here is a certificate presented to a supporter of Lord Randolph Churchill the day after his election to parliament in 1880.
Just four years earlier, in 1876, Lord Randolph was exiled to Ireland because of his feud with the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his threat to expose letters evidencing the Prince’s role in a scandalous sexual affair. Lord Randolph returned to England in 1880 to stand for a seat in the House of Commons. He won and was a back bencher but gained notoriety by criticizing and obstructing Prime Minister William Gladstone and the Liberal majority. Although he was still a social pariah due to his royal feud, Lord Randolph worked his way up the political ladder and was Chancellor of the Exchequer just six years later.
This certificate measures 10 x 12 inches. The oval photo of Lord Randolph is not printed on the paper, but rather is an actual photo sized and glued on. Issued from Blenheim Palace, these certificates certainly were not presented to every constituent, but to those who played a significant role in Lord Randolph’s campaign. In forty-one years of collecting and preserving history, I have never seen another.
Brian Krapf formerly served as President of the American Political Items Collectors.