Robert Maxwell’s contacts book to be auctioned after discovery in ‘dusty box’
The contacts book of late fraudster and publishing mogul Robert Maxwell is going under the hammer.
The directory, which belonged to Ghislaine Maxwell’s father, was discovered in a dusty box during lockdown.
A former Maxwell employee, who lost their job when parts of the publishing empire went into administration, found the inch-thick book and it is being sold to raise money for the Journalists’ Charity.
It dates from 1989, two years before Maxwell’s mysterious death at sea.
He was found dead, floating in the Atlantic Ocean, in 1991, having apparently fallen overboard from his luxury yacht Lady Ghislaine.
It was subsequently discovered that his publishing empire was riddled with debt and that he had looted an estimated £400 million from the Mirror Group pension fund.
An inquest found that Maxwell had suffered a heart attack combined with accidental drowning but conspiracy theories about his death continue.
Maxwell’s daughter Ghislaine, the former girlfriend of late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is listed in the book as managing director of Maxwell Corporate Gifts.
She is currently in a US prison facing trial on charges of procuring teenage girls for Epstein to abuse. She denies the charges.
The colour-coded contacts book, dated July 1989, includes the wording: “If found please return to Mr Robert Maxwell, Headington Hill Hall, Oxford.”
The bound file contains 86 blue pages of Maxwell’s personal contacts, described as “a fascinating list of movers and shakers from A to Z”, from top politicians and industrialists of the time to Fleet Street’s proprietors and celebrities.
Other objects in the Journalists’ Charity Christmas Auction include a personalised oil painting by artist Gail Graham, who has depicted the Queen and former US president Barack Obama on canvas.
Lots also include a personalised cartoon by Fleet Street’s Stanley McMurtry, known as Mac, and a day out in a £3 million James Bond Aston Martin DB5.
As in all walks of life, a significant number of journalists – particularly freelancers - have been hit hard by the pandemic, losing their livelihoods and some facing the loss of their homes
The Journalists’ Charity was founded by Charles Dickens in 1864 to help journalists and their dependants experiencing tough times.
It offers help and advice, crisis support and financial assistance.
Ramsay Smith, chairman of the charity, said: “Robert Maxwell’s contacts book is a who’s who of movers and shakers of the time.
“Money raised by its sale and other lots in the auction will bring much-needed help in these difficult times.
“As in all walks of life, a significant number of journalists – particularly freelancers – have been hit hard by the pandemic, losing their livelihoods and some facing the loss of their homes.
“Fortunately, we’ve been able to help them but our fundraising efforts have been badly affected this year and funds raised through the auction will help us to continue to help those in need.”
– The auction takes place online from noon on Friday December 18 until the end of the year and is open to all bidders. Full details are at journalistscharity.org.uk