A set of false teeth worn by Winston Churchill during one of his most famous speeches have been sold for £18,000.
Churchill wore dentures throughout his life, and was somewhat reliant on them to moderate his speech. He never went anywhere without a spare set and was buried with one.
This pair are very special.
They are gold-mounted dentures with six upper teeth attached.
They were sold in February in an auction in Gloucestershire for £18,000, far surpassing an £8,000 guide price.
They were worn by Churchill during his “we shall fight them on the beaches” speech.
Winston Churchill, photographed in 1941.
The speech, made on June 4, 1940 is one of Churchill’s best known. He was relatively newly in post as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and trying to lead a country whose main ally, France, was in the process of military collapse in the face of Nazi blitzkreig.
These teeth were relatively new at the time.
Liz Poole of Cotswold Auctions, who held the sale, said: “We were absolutely delighted with the international interest in the sale of Churchill’s false teeth and other memorabilia, which included phone bids from collectors in the United States and UK.”
Although Churchill is a quintessentially British figure in many ways he also attracts international interest, and this sale was covered from the United States, Canada and Poland.
He is certainly the best-known, best-loved (though not uncontroversial) and most collectible of modern British historical figures.
His colourful life means some items, like these, are unusual. Cigars he gave away, or even part smoked, have been auctioned with estimates of around £1,000 to £2,000 in the past year.
More conventional items also attract big money. His signature is valuable, particularly on documents that tell some of his story. For example, a political letter sold for £15,000 in 2021. A set of books made £22,500 in 2015.
Most valuable of all is his art. Churchill was a keen painting, and a 1943 painting sold for £11.5 million in 2021. It didn’t hurt that it was painted during a wartime meeting with President Roosevelt.