Newspaper magnate’s binoculars to be sold in Honiton auction

PUBLISHED: 12:25 03 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:25 03 June 2016

The binoculars and case.

The binoculars and case.


The binoculars were given to Robert Maxwell in 1945 after his heroic endeavours in World War Two on behalf of the Allies.

The engraving on the binoculars.The engraving on the binoculars.

A pair of binoculars that once belonged to newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell will be sold at auction in Honiton tomorrow (Saturday, June 4).

The binoculars were given to the infamous publisher in 1945 after his heroic endeavours in World War Two on behalf of the Allies.

They bear the engraving, ‘Captain R Maxwell MC’ and the inside of the case displays the regimental badge of his unit, the North Staffordshire.

Although Maxwell is best known for his huge publishing empire and massive fortune, built up in the 1980s, he was actually from a very poor Czechoslovakian family that suffered greatly during the Holocaust.

He lost many members of his family at Auschwitz but managed to escape to Britain in 1940. Here, he joined the army and took part in the allied invasion of Normandy in 1944 and the final push to Berlin with his regiment.

As the engraving on the binoculars indicate, later in the war Robert Maxwell was promoted to captain, and awarded the Military Cross (MC) for bravery in action.

Maxwell went on to build up his empire, but in the late 1980s the business got steadily into deeper and deeper debt, and he notoriously used money from his employee pension fund to prop it up.

His body was found floating in the sea in 1991 in mysterious circumstances that have never fully been explained despite numerous theories.

Robert Maxwell’s initials are stamped in gold lettering on the binocular case, a reminder of the earlier time when this ultimately heinous and tragic figure fought shoulder to shoulder with British soldiers for the greater good.

If you have a hankering for this piece of history, the auction commences at 10.30am with the binoculars expecting to be sold at approximately 5.30pm tomorrow at the Silver Street saleroom, next to Honiton Community College.

Also included in the sale are silver, jewellery, ceramics, good antique furniture and collectors’ items.

Live internet bidding is available for this sale through

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