British Royal commemoratives are items of all description, made to celebrate coronations and other royal events such as marriages, birthdays, wedding anniversaries, deaths and Royal visits. Most popular are those made from pottery and china, usually mugs, plates, cups and saucers, beakers, figurines and such like.

Another material is glass, which can be tumblers, crystal goblets and paperweights. Paper items like, postcards, calendars, playing cards, and all manner of things like biscuit tins, handkerchiefs, tablecloths and tea towels were also made. The list is endless.


The very earliest Royal commemoratives pieces in Britain date from the 17th century, they were blue delftware platters and chargers with images of Charles I and William III and Mary.


A later delftware charger with Charles II sjbld for £91,000 at Christie's recently. It wasn't until transfer printing was invented in the 1750s, that commemoratjives came into being on a large scale.

China commemoratives were part of the Victorian craze for souvenirs of all types, it started with Victoria's coronation in 1837 when for the first time, the event was recorded on china and sold before the actual event occurred.

 It was a patriotic and inexpensive ornament which was affordable by the growing working classes.

Pressed glass produced in moulds was ideally suited to commemorative ware. Raised lettering, portraits, flags and other motifs could all be engraved in a cast-iron mould and countless of thousands of items could be produced and  sold very cheaply.

However, collecting glass commemoratives doesn't have the appeal of china, mainly because it came a lot later, and also because most of the Royal commemoratives given away in schools were ceramic.

A good collecting area, is in items marking personal events, such as marriages and births, especially of the children and relations to the Queen, such as the Queen Mother Duke of Edinburgh, and of course her grandchildren.

The coronations of King George IV in 1821 and King William IV in 1831 were well commemorated and pieces for this event can still be found at fairly affordable prices.

Unusually, items for Queen Victoria's coronation in 1838 are sometimes more difficult to find and generally are more expensive.

 However; many commemorative were made for her golden and diamond jubilees in 1887 and 1897, celebrating her 50th and 60th anniversaries on the throne, and can be easily found today at reasonable prices.


It isn't necessary to start a collection at the top, it is better if you begin with the least expensive pieces. It is relatively easy and can be fun as well as educational, to progress to the better pieces as your knowledge increases. As you progress, the cheaper pieces can be sold on and replaced by better pieces.

Start your collection with items you can afford and for a Subject you might admire, for example, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, or perhaps

The Queen Mother who is exceptionally collectible at this moment in time. Don't buy f<nr investment alone, buy what you like and enjoy it.

Keep a record of your collection and where possible, obtain purchase receipts.This is useful if you should sell any of your purchases sometime in the future. It is also resting to have an historical record of all your dealings.

   The condition of a piece affects its value. So when searching for a piece it is well worth taking along a magnifying glass which are useful for finding restored or touched-up gold trim.


Observe the name of the factory on the base of the piece. Modern reproduction, especially of Liverpool and Sunderland wares are common, but they are usually marked as reproductions.

Look at the quality of the printing. Poor or smudged examples are less valuable.

Cracks, crazing and repairs make the object less desirable. Look for small chips, hairline cracks, scratches, and missing pieces of transfer.

Old pieces of pottery tends to craze over time. Providing it is fine surface crazing, without too much staining it can make the piece more desirable.

Always be aware that not every dealer specialises in commemoratives and sometimes you might find one under priced, but for the same reason you will also find them overpriced.



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