One of my interests is collecting commemorative royal souvenirs as not only are they usually fairly inexpensive, they are also very colorful and of course represent a historical event. There are many different items that may be identified as being royal souvenirs. Plates, cups and saucers, mugs, baby dishes, jugs, biscuit or tobacco tins, ashtrays, coins and stamps are all very popular and in plentiful supply. One of the more unusual items I have is a silver thimble and sewing kit made to commemorate the coronation of George VI in 1937. British commemorative items have been around for over three hundred years. The earliest known were made for Charles II in 1660 for his Restoration as king, followed a year later by his coronation and by his wedding in 1662. Over the last 250 years it has been easier to make huge quantities of these products so they have become cheaper and more proliferous. Coins for example have been a popular item and are not generally made for actual circulation. There was a 25p coin produced for Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. 473,000 of these coins were made in sterling silver while a further 37,453,000 were issued in copper-nickel and were never in circulation. Stamps were first issued for Queen Victoria’s golden (50 year) jubilee in 1887 while specific countries such as Canada and Australia issued commemorative stamps for George V’s silver jubilee in 1935. Collecting these items is a fascinating look back in to history, either as it happens such as recent royal weddings, or to consider the implications of previous reigns.
For more on collecting check out my blog Antique Shops and Memorabilia or for more on the history, particularly royal jubilees, look here.
Fun Fact: An estimated 27 million people watched the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 on TV. Most would have bought some kind of memento of the day…
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