Could Prince William and Kate Middleton's engagement bring a collectibles boom?

Yes, it's official! Prince William has finally ended the guessing game which has kept Royal watchers busy for the past eight years and has become engaged to long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton.

The proposal, we are told, took place in Kenya last month, after the Prince very properly asked Kate's father for permission first. Clarence House has just confirmed the news in a statement and the couple are expected to give their first interview tonight.

The wedding is expected to be in spring or summer 2011, and is likely to be one of the most eagerly watched Royal events for many years.

Comparisons are naturally being drawn between the glamorous couple's nuptials and the world-watched wedding of William's mother, not least as it will be 30 years since her wedding in 1981.

Prince Charles married Diana with a global audience of 750 million, making it one of the most watched events ever, and whilst the world is in a different place than it was in 1981, there's no doubt that the eyes of the world will be on Wills and Kate.

This is certainly big news in the world of collectibles too. Royal memorabilia is one of the strongest performing areas of collectibles.

In particular, Princess Diana's autograph has increased in value by a startling 580% over the past 10 year according to the PFC40 autograph index. Some examples currently on the market, including a Christmas card, a signed portrait and even a personal letter from the Princess, are likely to be snapped up by canny investors.

The upcoming wedding is likely to produce some very valuable memorabilia with any items directly involved in the ceremony likely to become highly collectible. As a guide-line, a copy of Princess Diana's wedding dress made for Madame Tussauds sold for £100,000 in 2005 - we are certain it would be worth far more now if it went under the hammer.

Princess Diana's plunging black dress
Princess Diana's plunging black dress - sold for £192,000

Of course there is no certainty that a comparable dress will be made for Kate, and she is unlikely to sell her original wedding dress. But investors will want to be on the look-out for other dresses. Earlier this year Diana's famous 'take-the plunge' dress which introduced her to the public sold for nearly four times what was expected: £192,000 at Kerry Taylor auctions.

Items relating to the time of William meeting Kate at St Andrews University are also likely to become more valuable.

But in general, the wedding is likely to lead to a worldwide increase in Royal memorabilia, and lead to a new generation taking interest.

Interest in Royal collectibles is likely to rise not merely in the British Commonwealth, including India, and America but perhaps also in China, where nostalgia for the country's long past monarchy may spur an interest in the Royal couple.


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