Memorabilia is going for top dollar

Millions are spent on royal merchandise and memorabilia every time a big royal event takes place. Consumers shelled out an estimated 408 million pounds for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, celebrated in June.

But lots of people may see this as their last chance to get something memorializing the Queen and sellers have been quick to capitalize.

U.K. newspapers the day after she died were selling on eBay for more than $50.

A tea set marking the Queen's coronation has a winning bid of $678 on eBay, while a Barbie doll of the Queen marking her platinum jubilee sold for $1194. And for $496, you could get a scrapbook of the Queen’s 1951 visit to Canada.

The online marketplace wouldn’t share any insight or information on the searches or sales related to the Queen during the official mourning period.

Meanwhile, local sellers are also hoping to cash in. On Kijiji in the Toronto area, commemorative china also marking her coronation was priced at $100.

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Sellers have been anticipating this for a while

Jill DeMars, who owns Sweet Home Lagom in Minnesota, says she’s been holding on to a few pieces of royal memorabilia, anticipating increased demand in the wake of the sovereign’s death.

“I have like a core group of customers who are really into it that shop from me,” DeMars says.

Over the past year and a half, she says sales of royal items have been regular.

“I don't think you could ever possibly own everything royal because there's just so much — they make plates and tea cups and mugs and glasses and silverware and literally everything you can find of memorabilia, they made something.”

Both DeMars and Sandi Henning, who owns the PeonycottageBoutique on Etsy, believe Queen Elizabeth memorabilia will increase in value over time, as there won’t be any more events to commemorate her.

Henning, whose shop is based out of Hamilton, Ont., has about 600 items at any time and about 5% of her stock is royal. She says there has been a “definite uptake” in sales of royal memorabilia since the monarch’s death.

“I don’t have a huge stock as finding my pieces can be tricky and I usually just have one of each. Anything royal usually sells in good time to my customer base.”

And while the value of items may not go up immediately, both Henning and DeMars believe there will always be a niche market for these items.

“Collectors cherish them,” says Henning. “Pieces from her coronation are the most sought after, in my shop anyway. The Queen was a remarkable woman. Respected, admired. People feel a connection to her and want that very unique memento of her time.”

Collectors should be careful

However, Laren MacPherson, owner of Middletown Antiques in Middletown, Calif. couldn’t help but notice the items up for sale in the days following the Queen’s death seemed to be pricier than before.

She cautions collectors to be on the lookout for sellers taking advantage.

“There’s always vultures in any field and somebody probably who did not know antiques very well — they’re opportunists let’s just say that — and they thought, ‘Oh she just died so this plate is probably going to be worth a lot of money,’” says MacPherson.

She suggests people do their homework before buying expensive memorabilia.

Not all royal memorabilia is made equally. Because there’s no trademark on the royals, anyone can produce royal items.

If you’re looking to invest, experts say to look out for rare items, rather than ones that were mass produced. Specially made, limited edition objects are likely to bring the most value.

Still, MacPherson remains skeptical that Queen Elizabeth memorabilia will rise in value over the long term.

“The royal family has a long history and there’s been tea towels and tea cups for a couple hundred years and really it only interests a certain group of people,” she says.


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Lauren Bird Staff Reporter

Lauren Bird is a reporter for Before writing about personal finance Lauren reported and produced for CBC and BBC Radio. Her work has also appeared in The Atlantic.

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