Queen Elizabeth souvenirs are not yet worth a lot of money

Lambert of London, a gift shop less than a mile northeast of Buckingham Palace, will run out of Queen Elizabeth II souvenirs through the weekend.

“We had a bunch of online orders last night, and a lot of stuff went out today,” Michael Blumberg, a staffer, told The Washington Post in a phone interview Friday. “We didn’t expect Her Majesty to leave us, so it will take about a week for the new stock to arrive.”

Big events involving the royal family often result in sales spikes for everything from tchotchkes to fine china and gold coins. Anniversaries in particular are worth millions in memorabilia. For the Queen’s recent platinum celebration, the Center for Retail Research found that spending on souvenirs, memorabilia and gifts reached over £281million, or more than US$326million.

But the end of the longest reign of any British monarch opens up new opportunities for traders and buyers, experts say. And for those who have collected rare items over the years, their deaths mark the beginning of the anticipation of those items increase in value.

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Queen’s tchotchkes and rare collectibles will not appreciate in value immediately, according to Antony Charman, a founder of Vintage Trading Solutions. His company often buys rare items from people who have been left antiques or collectibles by deceased relatives. It’s an investment that will pay off as time goes by and items become rarer.

“Collecting is a long game,” he said. “It will take a few years before they are really worth money. They have not become worth more money because the queen died and they went up in price overnight.”

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Value is also determined by quality and rarity, experts say. A porcelain tea set to commemorate a Queen’s Jubilee that has been mass produced will not be worth much. But limited editions – of which maybe only 100 were produced – will eventually sell for more.

The legislature pledged allegiance to King Charles III, who was proclaimed the new monarch on 10 September. The occasion was celebrated with gun salutes and trumpets. (Video: Alexa Juliana Ard/Washington Post)

“It would be mostly items that are probably made of gold or silver — which have intrinsic value for their metal weight — that would have some kind of appreciation in value now that the queen is gone,” Charman said, pointing to limited-edition gold Coins and elaborate plates decorated with the monarch’s profile.

But recency bias could cause a short-lived rise in value, he added. Charman suspected that when he held an auction, He could probably make more money from selling the company’s collection of rare items like stamps and china commemorating the Queen’s coronation now than to wait about three months, because immediately after the death of the queen, people are nostalgic or sentimental.

While most tchotchkes and souvenirs aren’t worth much, consumers’ desire to commemorate the queen through tea towels, bobble heads and mugs will continue in the weeks after her death, experts predict. And the trend is likely to be international.

“I think there’s going to be a tremendous amount of interest because she’s the longest-serving monarch in all of British history,” said Martin Cribbs, vice president of brand management at Beanstalk, a global licensing agency.

James Constantinou, the managing director of Prestige Pawn Brokers, added that souvenir makers and the official royal gift shop had temporarily shut down its website Moments after the Queen’s death was announced – will likely soon be selling collectibles marking her death. And there could continue to be a rush for consumers to buy souvenirs commemorating the Queen as manufacturers phase out items bearing her likeness to make way for those of her son King Charles III.

Lambert of London staff have not yet ordered any items to celebrate the new king.

“Thousands of people will attend the funeral,” Blumberg said. “We may be there with new stock, but we may not be. Unfortunately, you can’t plan that.”

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