A pair of false teeth worn by Winston Churchill have sold at auction for £15,200 -- on the same day that plans were announced to put the British wartime leader's archive papers online for the first time.
Churchill, famous for his rousing speeches during World War II, had several sets of the partial upper dentures specially constructed to hide his natural lisp and accentuate his signature slurred diction.
According to documents held by the Royal College of Surgeons, the former prime minister "lived in fear of losing his false teeth" and would always have a spare set to hand, entrusted to his private secretary, Andrew Bullock of Keys auction house in Aylsham, eastern England, told CNN.
The set which sold for £15,200 ($23,700) on Thursday -- more than three times its expected price -- was put up for sale by Nigel Cudlipp, the son of the dental technician who made them, Derek Cudlipp.
"According to Nigel Cudlipp, his father said he could always tell how the war was going from the distance Winston hurled the teeth," said Bullock. "They were prone to breaking, especially when Churchill got a bit angry."
Bullock said Churchill suffered from poor teeth and gums from childhood and had complicated dentistry requirements. He later nominated his dentist for a knighthood.