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No sale for historic British boat

A wooden hydrographic survey boat that carried the coffin of British statesman Winston Churchill failed to sell at an auction held in London Thursday.

Bids for the boat, named Havengore, reached about $1.4 million — just shy of the $1.7 million it was expected to fetch, news reports say. When higher offers weren’t received, Havengore was withdrawn from the sale.

“What can I say? It is disappointing,” a Sotheby’s spokesperson says in a report. “It just didn’t find a buyer.”

The 87-foot Havengore was commissioned in 1954 by the Port Authority of London and was its longest-serving vessel, having been decommissioned in 1995. In 1965 Havengore transported the coffin of Winston Churchill, England’s prime minister during World War II, down the Thames River from Tower Hill to Waterloo Station. Churchill died Jan. 24 of that year after suffering a series of strokes.

Havengore since underwent an eight-year restoration. The privately owned barge is now used only during ceremonial events.

— Jason Fell