Key to Oscar Wilde’s jail cell to be auctioned off
The key to Oscar Wilde’s jail cell is set to be auctioned off in London tomorrow.
The key is believed to have been used to unlock the Reading gaol cell occupied by Wilde between 1895-1897 following his conviction for sodomy and gross indecency.
Auctioneers Sotheby’s estimate that the key will sell for between £4,000 and £6,000.
It will be sold mounted within a wooden presentation box with a sliding glass lid, accompanied with a framed statement on headed paper from Leslie Portch, then-Governor of HM Prison Reading.
Ms Portch presented the key to the Rotary Club of Reading in December 1971 with a note explaining: “This key … opened all Cells in ‘C’ Wing and consequently would have been used to unlock C. 3-3 occupied by Oscar Wilde from November 19 1895 to May 18 1897”.
The English Literature, History, Children’s Books and Illustrations auction begins at 10am tomorrow.