Churchill, Britain’s prime minister during World War II, had several sets of upper dentures that were specifically constructed to maintain his natural lisp and were mounted on gold, according to the Cotswold Auction Company, which is holding the sale in Cheltenham on February 6.
After losing several teeth while still in his 20s, Churchill carried two sets of the dentures with him all the time, allowing him to make the rousing speeches for which he was so famous.
This set was probably made at the start of World War II, the auction house said, and “must be among the most unusual items we have ever sold,” director Liz Poole added in a statement.
Designed by Churchill’s dentist, Wilfred Fish, and made by technician Derek Cudlipp, this set was first put up for sale by Cudlipp’s son, Nigel, in 2010, when it fetched £15,200 (then $23,700).
“According to Nigel Cudlipp, his father said he could always tell how the war was going from the distance Winston hurled the teeth,” Andrew Bullock of Keys auction house in Aylsham, eastern England, told CNN in 2010. “They were prone to breaking, especially when Churchill got a bit angry.”
One set is thought to be buried with Churchill himself, and another is displayed in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in London.
Other pieces of World War II memorabilia will also be on sale at the auction. The microphone with which Churchill is reputed to have delivered a VE Day speech on May 8, 1945 is expected to fetch up to £8,000 ($10,000), while a 1941 autograph book filled with 107 signatures of Royal Air Force pilots, many of whom fought in the Battle of Britain, could sell for £20,000 ($25,000).
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