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  • Collecting royal memorabilia - fit for a king?
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • -Collectingmemorabiliaroyal

Collecting royal memorabilia - fit for a king?

It's easy to see what drives the royal memorabilia collecting hobby: a chance to get close to the figureheads of a nation.

The world's royal families are the ultimate celebrities, leading public lives of splendour, and fans feel close to them by collecting their items.

Yet, like any market, the unwitting beginner in royal memorabilia can be left feeling like a court jester. Knowledge, passion and dedication are needed to become a serious collector - here are Paul Fraser Collectibles' tips to help you succeed. 

1. Crown jewels or commercial crock?

The most important aspect of royal memorabilia collecting is to distinguish between a mass-produced commemorative piece and a quality collectible.

Sadly, those decorative plates, mugs, tea towels or tankards with royal faces beaming out at you were produced in very high numbers. Due to this lack of rarity, they are seldom worth more than the materials used to make them - some even less.

Stick to unique items, preferably with a personal connection to a particular royal or event. Autographs, personal clothing, jewellery and photographs all make great collectibles, with historical items among the most valuable.

A great example of a quality piece with a personal connection is the two scrapbooks showing Queen Elizabeth II in a pantomime which sold for $5,249 in December 2013.

2. Think British

No other royal family draws the same crowds as the British

When we think of royalty, we often think of the current British family, the Windsors. The country has a long-standing royal tradition, and Queen Victoria's relatives, who ruled over much of Europe at the turn of the 20th century, are undoubtedly the best-known royals in history.  

The market for British royal memorabilia is by far the strongest. In fact, there is so little demand for memorabilia of other royal families that, for many, there is no discernable market.

If you want to be able to buy and sell your collectibles, it is important to ensure liquidity exists. There are millions of buyers of British royal memorabilia all over the world, so you should have no problem finding new additions or off-loading your unwanted items.

3. Scandals spur sales

Diana's dresses are some of the most valuable of any royal memorabilia

Royal memorabilia collectors are devoted fans of the family, but that doesn't mean they're immune to the draw of a good scandal. That's why items relating to Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson are some of the best sellers on the market.

Princess Diana's unhappy marriage and death made headlines across the world, as the People's Princess' plight was captured by the media in meticulous detail. The dress she wore while dancing with John Travolta at the White House, undoubtedly one of the happiest moments she had as a royal, sold for $362,500 in 2013, setting a new auction record for her memorabilia.

Wallis Simpson was the woman who lured King Edward VIII away from his throne, with the king abdicating in favour of the American divorcee to the shock of the world. The Cartier bracelet he gave to Simpson as a token of his love sold for $7.2m in 2010, rumoured to have been bought by Madonna.

4. Historical figures bring future gains

Henry VIII
It doesn't get much more iconic than King Henry VIII

So, you're thinking British and you're thinking 20th century, but have you considered the heroes (or tyrants) of history? Royal memorabilia extends beyond those currently on the throne and items from history's greatest leaders can see some of the highest prices at auction.

However, when choosing an ancient monarch, don't opt for the obscure like Edmund Ironside or King Cnut (not that you could find any). Think iconic and pick Richard III, Henry VIII or Elizabeth I.

Studied by school kids around the world, these kings and queen are well known by all, and have already proven themselves in the collectibles market.

A Richard III signed document recently sold for $52,500.

5. Specialise in royal babies

Royal baby exhibition show Museum of London
A tiny boot that belonged to King Edward VII

Prince George of Cambridge was born on July 22, 2013, causing an international media storm and flooding the market with thousands of pieces of mass-produced commemorative clutter. We know these aren't worth their salt, but don't write-off royal baby memorabilia just yet.

It'll be a long time before we see any quality collectibles from the future king, but the childhoods of other monarchs have left us with plenty of fascinating memorabilia. The Museum of London recently held an exhibition dedicated to Prince George, featuring hundreds of artefacts from as early as Charles I, and it is specialised collections such as this that see the strongest results when sold.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some of the finest royal memorabilia for sale.

  • Post author
    Paul Fraser
  • -Collectingmemorabiliaroyal