Errol Flynn's Cufflinks

13 Nov

You may have seen this auction item on ebay? Errol Flynn's Monogrammed 14K Button with Provenance it has ended without a buyer but may be back! The description adds another layer of understanding to the things going on in Vancouver, BC in the days before and after Flynn died of a massive heart attack in the condo-apartment at 1310 Burnaby St. It tells a tale:

“Single 14 K gold (tested) monogrammed button which belonged to the late Hollywood movie actor Errol Flynn with a four page letter of provenance, acquired in 1959. Provenance is a four page letter written and signed before her death in 2008 by the late Mrs. Joan Keenlyside, wife of the late Judge Harold Keenlyside, O.C. of the British Columbia Supreme Court of Justice, who died in 2001. Judge and Mrs. Keenlyside were personal friends of Mr. & Mrs. George Caldough (Mr. Caldough was a Vancouver, B.C. stock promoter) who she refers to as “Mr. & Mrs. C” in this letter. This letter of provenance and the 14 K gold monogrammed in script “EF” button belonging to Errol Flynn was passed down to her son. The button measures 9/16″ in diameter and weighs 3.7 grams. Each page of the letter measures 8″ x 5 5/16″. The four page letter reads:

“In 1959 Errol Flynn was a house guest of Mr. & Mrs. C (Mr. C. promoter / entrepreneur / stockbroker) at their luxury home (rented) in West Vancouver, British Columbia. At the time his whole preoccupation was with selling his luxury yacht which was moored in the Bahamas. He made no secret of the fact that he was broke and all depended on this sale – necessitating long phone calls at all times of day & night. He and Mr. & Mrs. C were guests at a large cocktail party in Vancouver, B.C. on the day of his death. He excused himself as he was not feeling well & moved into a nearby guest room, lay down & subsequently died. After all was over the C's returned to their home in West Vancouver. Unbeknownst by their friends and aquaintances they also were flat broke & were looking to Errol Flynn to perhaps help them launch a new fancy restaurant they were thinking of launching in high income West Vancouver. Mrs. C told me they were aghast and she went to the room where Errol Flynn had slept & opened the clothes closet and all that was there was a threadbare blazer a few buttons hanging loosely. She said to her husband: quote ” we will never recover those telephone bills – what shall we do?” She decided perhaps something could be recovered on the apparently few gold buttons left on the jacket. She clipped them off – 2 large buttons on the front – 2 small buttons, one on each cuff where obviously 2 more had been at one time. Each one inscribed with his signature “EF”. I met Mrs. C at a dinner party in Vancouver and it was soon after the above events. She told myself and anyone else close by the above course of events where upon I said would be interested in one of the smaller buttons for my gold charm bracelet which she had admired each time we met. She acquiesced immediately & on mentioning the whole thing to my husband across the room – he said sure “make her an offer”. She immediately accepted and said she would bring it to me at our next meeting – a luncheon at the West. Vancr. Tennis Club. This came about & we exchanged the button & the cheque & that was the end of it. I have the understanding that they are both deceased, after this many years. Joan L. Keenlyside.”

— David DeWitt


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  1. Anonymous

    November 14, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for posting this again, David, I had merely posted the link, which will expiry some time, but now we have the story here for eternity. Isn't it sad to think that people are constantly trying to make money out of a deceased person's property… By the way, another crazy story: at the moment, 8 lobby cards from “Dodge City” are being auctioned for, at the moment, more than 1,000 $!!! The starting price was 56!!!

  2. Anonymous

    November 14, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Hi Aresia,
    I read this article with great interest and also monitored that ebay listing re. the 14k cufflinks, I find the background story somewhat beyond belief to say the least. However, in spite of you finding it sad that there are people out there still trying to more or less cash in on deceased people's belongings, I like to mention that I have numerous personally owned items of our hero and may I add that they all very genuine with accompanying CoAs. I have been collecting Hollywood memorabilia items for years! I intend NOT to make money out of them, I also had to pay heavily for them when I adquired them and sometimes owners like myself like to let go of certain items. I might let fellow Flynnanians know soon which items I will sell.
    It is my intention to sell these treasured items to genuine Flynn fans like myself since 1985.

  3. Anonymous

    November 14, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    That's exactly what I meant, Jan… on the one hand, it is understandable that, since you had to pay a lot of money, you want to get something back, but I still can't approve of it. I think it'd be better to donate such things to real scholars, like all the letters that are for sale. This would be much more useful for everybody, and not just for the profit of a few people. One could make up a kind of foundation where all the Flynn memorabilia would be accessible for scholars or fans. I know I'm sounding naive, the world is as it is – profit-oriented!

  4. Anonymous

    November 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I'm a scholar. You're more than welcome to bequeath everything to me!

  5. Anonymous

    November 14, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    If I had anything, Rob, I sure would do it! :-)

  6. Anonymous

    November 15, 2010 at 12:53 am

    I have to confess. These cufflinks have been haunting me. I mean, how bad? I mean, I was day dreaming about them driving into town the other day, that's how bad….lol!
    I almost contacted the guy and offered him a sum in cash below what he was asking, but thought better of it. I just think they belong on a chain around my neck (LOL!).
    Seriously however, there is an Errol Flynn foundation set up by Pat Wymore (you can read about it in Docklines.). I wish someone with endless funds would pick all this stuff up and house it in a museum for our hero. As for lobby cards, I lucked out the other day on a half sheet for Dodge City, an original, not a replica. According to the book on EF Movie posters, these are very rare. I bagged mine, shipping and all, for right around $75.00! I don't know if the seller knew what he had. It shows wear and has been folded, but I'll get it gussied up and framed. I also have several reproduction movie posters of EF films as I can't afford the real things.
    When the links come back maybe the price will have dropped. I note the seller halfed the price on the wedding album. You never know.

  7. Anonymous

    November 15, 2010 at 6:03 am

    If you have things to share of EF they should be sent to the Tasmania Museum. This is where Rory, his daughter, donated letters written by her parents. This is where the cufflinks should finally land. Just a thought.

  8. Anonymous

    November 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Good thought, Kathleen! But it'll never happen, I guess…

  9. Anonymous

    November 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

    This explains the 1,000$ for the set of cards, Brenda! I originally wanted to bid for it, not knowing how valuable it seems to be – is it stated WHY it is so rare? I mean, Dodge City was a huge success, so there should be quite a lot of lobby cards around…

  10. Anonymous

    November 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    It makes me very sad to think that people could think only of what they could make from the Errol Flynn name, and the man dead by rights any personal belongings should have been sent to his family at that time , mainly his children.

  11. Anonymous

    November 16, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Hi, Soon I will be selling genuine Flynn items, I own 5 pairs of cufflinks (and Ascots etc), one of them solid gold with the beautiful EF scrolled on them (these not for sale by the way, not now not ever!). I also intend selling the very rare book “The Young Errol: Flynn before Hollywood”.
    As a matter of fact I am a ferocious Flynn fan since 1985 and have been searching for selective items wit provenance of course and CoA or genuinity. I designed my own Flynn logo which is enbroidered on most of my shirts, wicked perhaps but is is a damn good topic of conversation.
    I wish to post it on the website but not quite sure as how to do that.

  12. Anonymous

    November 17, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Interesting… how did you get these items?

  13. Anonymous

    December 29, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Aresia, I have been a serious Hollywood memorabilia collector for many years and always selected personally owned items worn or used by the “A” list actors or actresses. Apart from that I dealt with high profile reputable dealers and agents. It is time now to release some of my collection. Apart from Errol, (I wish to sell some of his sets of cufflinks that I own) I like to sell Gary Cooper, Paul Muni, John Barrymore cufflinks, all vintage and in very good condition.
    Also, the famous sterling silver cigarette case from the late 1930's given to Errol by Barrymore with the legendary words from the Hamlet play “Full of Sound and Fury, John” engraved on the reverse and Errol's initials on the front. Not intending to make a profit and just want to cash out, anyone can contact me and of course I am very willing to anwser each and every question related to these rare items. All items are accompanied from the person I bought them from, no worries. After all, we are all Flynn fans, right??
    Ah, almost forgot, coming up for sale soon. Errol's smoking sumtuous satin smoking robe in pristine condition!!!
    Just sold the rare book: The Young Errol: Flynn before Hollywood” to a very nice Flynn fan without any problems. The man knew actually what he wanted and has been searching for a number of years for it. Perseverance goes a long way!!

  14. Anonymous

    December 31, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Aresia better late than never finally getting around to answering your question “Why so rare” – no in the book on EF movie posters it does not say why they are so rare. Darn the luck anyhow, does seem strange yes, as it was such a popular film with so much hooplah and fanfare for its release.

  15. Anonymous

    January 1, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Thank you, Brenda, and happy new year!