The gold-mounted dentures, actually a partial set, which had been estimated at £5000-8000 by The Cotswold Auction Company on February 6, were sold as part of a large collection of memorabilia.
They were designed by Churchill's dentist, Sir Wilfred Fish, and made by Fish’s technician, Derek Cudlipp.
The PM feared losing his ability to speak – one of his greatest attributes, given his famous rousing speeches during the Second World War - because he had long-standing problems with his teeth (and gums). The dentures were intended to overcome his childhood lisp.
The false teeth would have been made around the start of the war and it is thought three or four identical sets were produced (and one was perhaps buried with him).
This particular set was first sold at auction by Cudlipp’s son Nigel and was bought by Gloucestershire-based collector of Churchill memorabilia George Ridgeon, making £15,200 at Keys of Aylsham in 2010.
At the time of the auction Nigel had said his father’s work was so important to Churchill the PM would not let him join up to fight, the BBC reported. “When my father’s call-up papers came, Churchill personally tore them up,” he said. “Churchill said that he would be more important to the war effort if he stayed in London to repair his dentures.”
Churchill obviously also rated Fish highly. A typewritten letter from Sir Winston to Sir Wilfred in 1954 sold for £2100 (estimate £600-800) at Bonhams in London in March 2008.The PM said how happy he was to recommend Fish for a knighthood - and asks him to tighten up an enclosed set of dentures. (“The others are working very well,” he noted.)
Another Fish/Cudlipp set for Sir Winston is on display in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, London.
Another stand-out lot from the Ridgeon collection in the Cotswold sale was a microphone reputedly used by Churchill on VE Day to announce the end of the Second World War, which sold for £11,500 against a guide of £5000-8000.
The Grampian radio microphone was reputedly used by the prime minister to deliver a speech at Westminster. After the war it found its way to the US where it was displayed in a high-end New Mexico restaurant.
It is mounted on a wooden plinth with a brass plate which bears the inscription The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance. Winston S Churchill. The side of the microphone base has a printed label with a quote from a Churchill speech of December 5, 1942. Underneath the plinth is a typed label which reads This microphone was used on the VE Day gathering at Westminster Chapel by Winston S Churchill after addressing his cabinet.
However, a 'Book of Heroes' containing 107 signatures from RAF officers, many of whom fought in the Battle of Britain, including Douglas Bader, failed to sell in the Cotswold auction against an estimate of £10,000-20,000.
Bulldog spirit captured
Another Churchilliana lot sold at auction recently came in the form of a portrait by John Archibald Alexander Berrie (1887-1962). The oil on canvas, measuring 2ft x 2ft 5in (61.5 x 74cm) without frame, had some slight condition issues and looked to have been cleaned and varnished, but sold for a hammer price of £15,000 (estimate (£3000-5000) at Mallams’ sale in Oxford on February 7.
It has made other auction appearances, such as Sotheby’s in 1998 and Roseberys in south London five years ago.