'Royal memorabilia, royal investments... What to look out for'

You might remember, last week, I explained how reappraised history can boost the values of collectibles - and how this offers you a number of smart investment opportunities, if you have the right information.

Examples I used at the time ranged from an previously-unknown First Edition Oscar Wilde book to memorabilia from the Apollo 15 Moon landing. These were items whose values have grown as history has been revised.

And indeed, other examples have cropped up this week - including a pair of vases discovered on a retired couple's shelf. It turned out that the vases were actually from China's 19th century Qing Dynasty, and worth a remarkable £500,000.

But if you are new to collecting, or expanding your collection into new realms, you might well ask: "With all the vast annals and periods of history, where on Earth do I begin to look for things of value?"

There are, of course, many answers to this - and many strong historic collectibles niches for you to invest your money in. But, this week, a very special anniversary got me thinking about one area of collectibles in particular...

Today (August 4) is the birthday of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

She passed away in 2002, aged 101, and had lived through many things - from World War II (during which Hitler amazingly called her "the most dangerous woman in Europe" for her role in boosting Britain's morale) to the life and death of Princess Diana.

This is one of the best signed Diana portraits we've ever handled at
Paul Fraser Collectibles (You can find out more here)


The anniversary caused me to cast my mind back over all the Royal memorabilia items I've dealt with over the years.

And, in terms of value, Royal memorabilia really is one of the 'surest things' that you can invest your money into. One reason is that future generations will always be interested in it.

What's more, Royal memorabilia can appeal to all tastes. For instance, a black dress worn by Princess Diana - remembered by some as the dress which made her famous - sold earlier this year at London's Kerry Taylor Auctions for £192,000.

Or how about antique furniture? Not only is this George III gilt-bronze mounted library bookcase, for sale at Sotheby's, a beautiful and historic item of furniture, it was also fitted with a "secret door" through which George IV crept to pay visits to his Catholic mistress Mrs Fitzherbert. It will auction in October, priced £60,000-80,000.

The lucky buyers of these collectibles can feel very confident that their values will continue to appreciate in coming years, and that future generations of collectors and institutions around the world will be interested in buying them.  

So where do you begin with your collecting?

My advice would be to pick an era of Monarchy which interests you the most. We could be talking more recent artefacts, like a rare and valuable signed portrait of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, or an historic document by Charles II.

Let me show you examples of each...

When they married in 1981, Charles and Diana's wedding was a real-life "fairytale romance" - and was watched on television by a staggering 750m viewers. Of course, the rest is history, and the fairytale wasn't to last.

Will the anticipated marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton capture the public's imagination in the same way? Only time will tell...

A 327-years-old document signed by Charles II, the King of England
(Click here for more information)


But one thing's for sure: a signed photo of the couple will never be without potential buyers in future decades. As I said, future generations will always be interested - which could make a rare £2,950 ($4,865) Christmas card signed by Charles and Diana an excellent and solid unappreciated investment.

Or how about if we journey back 327 years, to a singular document signed by Charles II, the King of England... To own such a letter would be remarkable in itself; but how about if that letter was of a personal nature, written by the King to a favourite (illegitimate) child?

"I thinke it a very reasonable thing that other howses should not looke into your house without your permission, and this note will be sufficient for Mr Survaieor to builde up your wall as high as you please" - Charles II in his letter to daughter, Charlotte

And imagine being able to own such an historic letter now, for just a five-figure price - this will seem ridiculously low in years to come. This very letter is now for sale - dated April 3, 1683 - and you can find more information here.

My point is, Royal memorabilia offers centuries of history to explore and discover - and the price trends speak for themselves. For instance, according to the industry's PFC40 Autograph Index, the value of a  signed Diana, Princes of Wales photograph has appreciated by 580% in 10 years.

In other words, if you'd bought a Diana signed photo worth £1,250 back in the year 2000, it could today be worth around £8,500. So, with that in mind, what could a signed photographic portrait worth £12,500 ($20,625) today be worth in another 10 years?

Values are constantly appreciating, and as long as people are interested in Royal history they will continue to rise.

The onus falls on collectors like you, and I, to preserve these Royal legacies - and the investment rewards available to you could be very significant indeed...

Good luck, and happy collecting!





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