LONDON, July 14, 2010 -- Sir Winston Churchill's World War II-era speeches moved masses of Brits to support the war effort, but the prime minister may not have spoken such legendary words so well without his lisp-correcting false teeth. Now, you can be the proud owner of Churchill's dentures if, of course, you can pay up.
Keys Salerooms in Norfolk, U.K., is auctioning off a spare set of Churchill's teeth, and they are expecting a pretty hefty payday, considering the prize.
"I'd put a very tentative estimate at 4 or 5,000 pounds [about $7,500]," said Andrew Bullock, the auction overseer.
Keys recently auctioned Churchill's half-smoked cigar for about $6,800 and during that sale, Bullock said, all of the auction house's phone lines were busy with bidders. He expects even more interest, this time from everyday collectors to dentists and museums, he said.
Keys acquired the false teeth from the son of Churchill's dental technician, who donated the other spare set to the Royal College of Surgeons Museum in London. The museum displayed the teeth with the caption, "The teeth that saved the world?"
Churchill required multiple sets of dentures because the gold-set porcelain teeth were "exceedingly delicate," Bullock said.
"When he got angry, which was quite often during the war years, they were prone to break," he said.
Broken dentures were certainly not an option for Churchill, who needed the specially constructed teeth to hide his natural lisp, Bullock said.
The Most Unusual Object
Bullock, who also sold an empty bottle once owned by Charles Dickens for about $1,500, is looking forward to seeing where the teeth end up after the auction July 29.
"They're the most unusual object I've had the pleasure of selling," he said.