A few years ago, I failed to buy a commemorative dish memorialising the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817. I’ve bemoaned my loss of this ever since. I’ve browsed for another on eBay and have almost been tempted to buy again. Some of the Princess Charlotte memorabilia is very pricey, that said it is 200-years-old!
Love it or loathe it, royal memorabilia is big business. The royals themselves got in on the act, according to The Telegraph, in the 1990s, with the Royal Collection Trust producing tasteful souvenirs to sell in the palace shops. Indeed, the marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011 garnered an estimated £222 Million with the sale of royal commemorative pieces.
Nevertheless, don’t think buying a piece of royal kitsch will be a big investment. Generally, 20th and 21st century royal memorabilia does not gain in value. The exception to this is if the item is a personal belonging such as clothing or very old (pre-Victorian). From the Victorian age, items were mass produced and they hold limited value apart from its appeal to the purchaser.
I’ve been looking at royal memorabilia, mostly china cups, saucers and mugs, in local antique and junk shops. And the occasional peek on eBay but as yet, I’ve not bought anything.
The mugs above piqued my interest; the one on the left commemorates the coronation of King Edward VII on 26 June 1902. However, the coronation was postponed until the August as the king needed an emergency operation due to an abdominal abscess. As Diana, Princess of Wales’ sister said to her, ‘Your face is on the tea towels’; the date was on the mugs and the King and Queen Alexandra were eventually crowned on 9 August 1902. The mug on the right commemorates a coronation that never happened. King Edward VIII abdicated his throne on 10 December 1936 so that he could marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. His coronation was planned for 12 May 1937, but instead, his brother and his wife, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, were crowned on the same day.
I visited a large antique shop and although I didn’t manage to explore all their stock before the store closed, I managed to snap all their royal memorabilia for my pictorial archive. (Soon to be added to Pinterest.)
STOP PRESS: I bid on eBay for this mug (below) and won! Soon it’ll be winging its way to me, heaven knows what I’ll do with it! It interested me as it bore the incorrect date of the king’s coronation. I paid £4, not much to pay for a whim!
Photos author’s own unless stated