Winston Churchill collectibles
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was British Prime Minister between 10 May 1940 – 26 July 1945 and 26 October 1951 – 5 April 1955, most notably during Britain’s involvement in World War II.
Due to his character and spirit while leading Great Britain to victory in World War II, Churchill is today remembered as one of Britain's greatest 20th-century heroes.
During his lifetime, his occupations included Member of Parliament, statesman, soldier, journalist, historian, author and painter.
Value on the collectors’ markets
According to the PFC40 Autograph Index, a Sir Winston Churchill signed photograph rose in value from £2,600 to £5,950 over ten years (2000-2010) – an increase of 128.8%.
Winston Leonard Spencer (1874-1965) was born on November 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England to Lord Randolph and mother Jennie, an American heiress. Winston’s childhood was an unhappy one. His father succumbed to syphilitic insanity, while his mother markedly promiscuous and often ignored her son.
War soldier and correspondent
In 1897, Churchill arrived in India with the 4th Hussars and served in the Malakand expedition, later writing The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898). His dual role as serving officer and war correspondent was met with suspicious by his superiors.
Nevertheless, Churchill used his mother’s connection to join the 21st Lancers and to take part in one of the last cavalry charges at Omdurman, which he later wrote about in The River War (1899).
Appointment as Prime Minister
Churchill stood as a losing Conservative candidate at Oldham in 1899. He then went to cover the Second Boer War for newspaper the Morning Post. An armoured train in which he was travelling was ambushed, and Churchill was interred in a POW camp.
He escaped and returned to England as a war hero having achieved fame and a (modest) fortune. The following year, 1900, he won the Oldham election. During this time, Churchill perfected his performances as a public speaker. This didn’t come naturally, requiring hours of preparation.
Between 1911-15, Churchill was first lord of the Admiralty in World War I and earned himself a reputation for erratic judgement – resulting in a loss of influence at his ‘political wilderness’ years in the 1930s.
His warnings of the threat posed by Adolf Hitler's Germany were ignored in the run-up to World War II. When war broke out, he was appointed to his old post as head of the Admiralty.
Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain, Churchill headed a coalition government as prime minister between 1940-45. His commitment to out-and-out war lead to victory, making him an inspiration to his countryman and leaving a legacy which is still felt on today’s collectors’ markets.
Notable collectibles and sales
Churchill’s skills as an orator during World War II holds fascination among historians and collectors – leading to significant sales of his dentures on the private markets. The dentures were designed to be loose-fitting to preserve his famous diction for his radio broadcasts during the Second World War.
Four sets of Churchill's gold plated dentures are known to exist. One set was buried with Churchill, another set is held by the Royal College of Surgeons in London, United Kingdom.
Of the two remaining sets:
One set sold for £15,200 (£17,480 including hammer) at Key's Auctions in Norfolk, United Kingdom on 29 July 2010 against an original estimate of £5,000.
The second set were subsequently auctioned by Bonhams, London for £16,000 on January 19, 2011. Included in the same lot were a signed photograph of Sir Winston Churchill and various dental appointment cards.
His half-smoked cigar
Sir Winston Churchill once said of his love for smoking cigars:
"My rule of life prescribed, as an absolutely sacred rite, smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and - if need be - during all meals, and in the intervals between them.”
In 2010, a half-finished cigar which Churchill abandoned to attend an urgent during the early 1940s sold for £4,500 in a private Norfolk, UK, sale.
‘Battered and ripped’ Chesterfield sofa
Churchill's sofa as found in the shed of a Vicarage in the English county of Northampton. It sold for £7,500 at a J.P Humbert Auctioneers sale, over an initial estimate of just £80.
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