'Happy Birthday, Ma'am!' - Queen Elizabeth II marks her 85th year

"I was so moved by her beauty and her charm and... kindness" - Sir Winston Churchill, Britain's war-time Prime Minister

Sir Winston Churchill was the first Prime Minister to serve under Queen Elizabeth II when she began her reign 59 years and 74 days ago.

And - not to be outdone by all the talk of Prince William and Kate Middleton's impending Royal wedding - the Monarch today marks her 85th birthday.

The Queen will be spending her birthday generously this year, attending the yearly Royal Maundy religious service which takes place on the Thursday prior to Good Friday.

At the service, in London's Church of England, the Queen distributes small silver coins known as "Maundy money" (or, legally, "the Queen's Maundy money") to elderly recipients.

The coins are legal tender but remain uncirculated because of their silver content, collectibility and - of course- numismatic value.

Needless to say, Queen Elizabeth II is no stranger to commemorative coins - and also collecting in general.

Her likeness has appeared on many high-end collectibles including coins. Notable examples include the British dateless 20p and the very valuable Canadian dot cent.

One of the best signed photographs of Queen Elizabeth II Paul Fraser Collectibles has ever seen. We sold it, last year, for £6,000 ($9,900)

What's more, Elizabeth has collecting in her blood...

Dating back to 1856, when the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his younger brother Prince Alfred (Queen Victoria's second son and later Duke of Edinburgh) were given panes of the soon to be issued new 6d stamps, the Windsors have been synonymous with philately.

But it was George V who would become unofficially known as the "King of Philately." Perhaps it was a sign that he ascended to the throne on the 70th anniversary of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black...

George took to philately with aplomb, expanding the Royal collection with a renowned sense of completeness and a great interest in stamp design. The King never neglected a stamp issue provided that it was of good status.

Today, King George V's collection is housed in 328 red albums, each of around 60 pages. And, by all accounts, it is in good hands with its inheritor Queen Elizabeth II.

In fact, Paul Fraser once had the pleasure of being responsible for selling the famous Kirkudbright Penny Black First Day Cover to The Royal Philatelic Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

It has since been valued at £500,000 - but among philatelists could be better described as priceless.

Whether or not Her Majesty chooses to devote any time on her birthday to her philatelic pursuits, we can only guess...

But, as the Windsor dynasty prepares to enter its next chapter with William and Kate's wedding, The Royal Philatelic Collection will undoubtedly continue to fascinate collectors around the world.


Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today 

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock