While Winston Churchill was telling the world that Britain would “fight on the beeches” he may have been fighting to keep his teeth in place. The dentures the Prime Minister wore for that speech will be sold next month and carry a top esitmate of £8,000.
The sale, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, is not the first time the false teeth have been sold. In 2010, they realised £15,200 at a Norfolk auction. That suggests that the £5,000 – £8,000 estimate for their sale in February could be on the low side.
Liz Poole, of The Cotswold Auction Company, who are handling the sale, said: “Churchill’s false teeth must be among the most unusual items we have ever sold.”
Almost every detail of Churchill’s life has been pored over in great detail. Including his dental history. These dentures were one of many sets he wore during his life. He first put them in in childhood in an attempt to deal with a lisp. The statesman always carried a spare pair, and one may have been buried with him.
Winston Churchill photographed in 1941. His legend still lives on around the world.
Derek Cudlipp, a dental technician, made them. He also always had a set of spares on hand. They were designed by Sir Wilfred Fish, Churchill’s dentist.
The provenance of this set is excellent. They come to sale via the Royal College of Surgeons museum, to which they were donated.
They told The Guardian that “a well-fitting denture was a crucial physical and psychological prop” for one of modern history’s most famous orators.
Churchill remains the most collectible British historical figure. His role during WWII has helped him to transcend politics to become a national figure.
This means big prices for autographs, documents, and even eccentric personal memorabilia like these teeth. In 2010 1 half-smoked cigar realised £4,500 at auction; a bow tie has reached £7,2850, and a pair of spectacles made £6,875 in 2016.
The passage of time generally reduces demand for demand around historical figures. They simply fade into the record. However, Churchill, may be in that stratospheric realm, like Napoleon, whose legend will live on largely undimmed.
Buyers at the February 6 sale in Cheltenham can also pick up a microphone into which Churchill announced the end of World War II. That should also fetch between £5,000 and £8,000 according to estimates.