After 65 years on the throne, it’s probably safe to say that The Queen has seen pretty much everything – and that includes some truly wacky memorabilia to commemorate her life and reign!
Since she became Her Majesty The Queen on 6 February 1952 the beloved monarch has seen her image reproduced in a multitude of ways, on an array of objects, in all corners of the world. Though some will always remain nothing more than a novelty, others have become collector’s items which can fetch thousands of pounds at auction.
Royal memorabilia expert James Grinter (of Reeman Dansie Auctioneers in Colchester) says: ‘The variety of memorabilia is staggering, and very amusing, even if most of it is pretty worthless…There are a few items which pop up now and again which are worth a pretty penny, but they’re pretty rare. The truth is that, although the Queen is more popular than ever, people don’t collect memorabilia much any more, certainly not in the way they used to. But even if most of it is massed produce stuff, you can’t help but marvel at the sheer array.’
So, from knickers to knick-knacks, let’s take a look at twenty of the oddest royal memorabilia pieces to have ever sported The Queen’s likeness…
1. Stamp of Disapproval
These limited edition stamps featured The Queen alongside a mackerel and were issued by the Pacific Island of St Helena to help a relief fund for a neighbouring island hit by an earthquake. It turns out though that St Helena didn’t have the permission of the British colonial office to use The Queen’s likeness, and so the stamps were destroyed. The 434 sets that had already been sold are now said to be worth £3,000.
2.Two Penny for Your Thoughts?
Search your pockets because if you’re carrying a 2p coin that says 1983 behind her majesty’s head and ‘New Pence’ (instead of ‘Two Pence’) on the back you’re in possession of a coin worth £700! The wording was a mistake from the royal mint, and its limited edition nature make it one of the rarest coins to carry The Queen’s image.
3. An Orb…but Minus the Sceptre
Want to sit regally and feel like The Queen? You need to get your hands on The Minton Orb which was manufactured to celebrate The Queen’s coronation in 1953. Only 600 were made, and they’re now worth more than £600.
4. Needle in a Royal Haystack
World famous miniaturist artist Brummie Willard Wigan created a special pinhead piece for the Queen which features microscopic precious jewels. When delivered to the palace the artist made sure to include a microscope to allow the royals to inspect the minute detail and incredible skill.
5. Solar Powered Monarch
A staple in most card and novelty shops across the UK and the world, the solar powered royal-waving Queen has become a phenomenon – so much so that a Diamond Jubilee edition was specially released by Kikkerland, the American company who makes them.
6. A Royal Scoop
Named the ‘Ice Queen Scoop’ and promoted as just the thing to ‘Give Your Ice Cream the Royal Seal of Approval’ these Diamond Jubilee buys featured The Queen with her head replaced by the scooper. At only £10 they were quite the sweet treat!
7. Gnome Sweet Royal Gnome
The royal reach swooped to new levels in The Queen’s 90th year when she was immortalised as a garden gnome. Dressed in the outfit worn by the monarch in her official Diamond Jubilee portraits the gnome also sported an Order of the Garter sash and the George IV state Diadem.
8. A Monarch to Warm You to Your Toes
Want to feel like you’re in the middle of the royal circle? Now you can with union jack slippers which boast The Queen looking up at you from the left foot and Prince Philip looking up from the right!
9. Royally Brewed
Want to take traditional afternoon tea with The Queen? Then you’ll need to dish out £7.99 for a royal tea bag holder featuring a cartoon of Her Majesty which can comfortably lounge in your fanciest cup and saucer.
10. Queen to Checkmate
Produced to incredible detail, the Diamond Jubilee Chess Set sports a castle that looks like Windsor, a bishop who looks like the Dean of Windsor and Her Majesty herself as Queen. With Prince Philip taking up the role as King on the chess board one has to wonder if the Duke of Edinburgh considered paying the £200 to get himself a set…
11. Royal Nutcracker
Germany loves The Queen and has been snapping up a rather sour looking Queen nutcracker since it was created in 2015 by master craftsman in Seiffen.
12. A Royal to Light Your Fire
To celebrate The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Cornish Match Company issued an ornate-looking tin of matches featuring the monarch on the label. A cheap, cheerful, popular souvenir!
13/14/15 – Just No
In the category of things that should never have been made you’ll find thongs bearing The Queen’s smiling face, a chamber pot with The Queen and Prince Philip discretely looking away and a regal toilet seat cover to give everyone ‘a throne of their own’. Let’s list these under things you wish you could unsee…
16. A Knit Kit to Fit a Queen
People around the world marked the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011 in many ways, but some crafty folks took it to new levels, buying a kit which allowed them to knit their own Windsor royals for just £9.99. Westminster setting for re-enactment not included.
17. Double the Royal Fun
Somewhere in the UK amongst the 650,000 £2 coins in circulation in the UK lurk 3,250 special coins featuring The Queen looking slightly askew as her profile was accidentally placed at a 150-degree angle. They’re rare but could one day be worth more than £350.
18. A Royal to Set Your Watch By
A special pocket watch produced by Smiths for The Queen’s coronation in 1953 featured a presentation box with the royal coat of arms and no less than two images of Her Majesty’s bright shining face.
19. London Calling
For those wanting to carry The Queen in their pocket wherever they go there’s a wide variety of phone covers featuring the British monarch. A new definition of wearing your heart on your sleeve!
20. Royal Eggs and Soldiers
As a staple of the ‘Full English’, it’s no surprise to know that The Queen has graced many an egg cup in her time. No set might be quite as unique as one created for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which coincided with the London Olympic Games. Breakfasters using these egg cups were treated to images of The Queen competing on behalf of Great Britain – swimming, cycling and weightlifting, all while wearing her crown!
Are you the proud owner of any of these wacky pieces? Let us know in the comments below!