Monday, April 04, 2011

One persons junk is another person's royal treasure

Diana, Princess of Wales
Ashton Drake Porcelain Doll
I volunteer at a website called AllExperts, where I answer questions related to British royalty and one of the most frequently asked questions is 'I have an item [insert poor description here] and I want to know what the value of it is.

I am not an expert on antiques. I am not an expert on royal memorabilia. Anytime I answer a question, I always state that. Why do I answer these questions despite my lack of expertise? Sucker for punishment? A genuine desire to point people in the right direction? A bit of both, though recently it seems to be the former rather than the latter.

Yes, I answered a question related to the value of an item. Except that the person didn't outright ask me to value it. He said he didn't care about the item, nor did he want to sell it, instead he asked whether he should keep it for 'heritage' reasons or toss it. Now maybe I misunderstood the question - entirely possible. I've been asked so many royal questions recently that I'm starting to get burnt out.

When I think of 'heritage' I think of something which should be preserved, not for monetary reasons, but for sentimental ones. Or even for future generations to enjoy.  And so I answered from that perspective. That wasn't what the person wanted to hear. I was supposed to be some type of online Antiques Road Show, deciphering the value of something based on a poor, minimal description of it.

Stupid me.

My answer was that everything has a value, even if it is sentimental. I have royal items which I value very much. Unfortunately others may not feel the same way. Once I'm gone they might just decide to 'toss' them. I won't be around to tell them otherwise so what difference does it make? I would hope that my children, or whomever, can make up their own minds instead of having to approach a volunteer expert with an unclear question.

1953 Coronation Sewing Kit
When it comes to royal items, I think it would be a shame to 'toss' any of them. Even if they have no value to you, does not mean that it doesn't have a value to someone else. I've been the recipient of many such items. Someones grandmother/aunt/friend died and they have a royal item and don't know what to do with it. I've been very lucky that someone has thought enough to keep this until they found the right recipient. And I do appreciate their generosity and hopefully I can care for the item, and preserve it, so that someone else may treasure them just as much as I do at present.

I don't collect royal items to sell them. I don't fool myself into thinking that I will be able to retire after selling my Diana, Princess of Wales porcelain doll. Not going to happen. I don't collect for those reasons. If I did so, I'm likely to be extremely disappointed. And so will my children when they head to the Antiques Road show of the future. Keeping these items in plastic or an alarmed curio cabinet, for heritage reasons, doesn't allow me to enjoy them now.

When it comes to keeping royal items I cannot make up someone elses mind whether to keep it or not. One persons junk is another person's royal treasure. Even if it has no monetary value. I hope people like the questioner will remember that as they're heading to the garbage can.

© Marilyn Braun 2011


EmDé said...

The picture of the doll of Diana looks more like princess Michael of Kent.

Marilyn Braun said...

Yes, you're right. It doesn't look much like Diana does it?

It's actually always bothered me that the doll doesn't include Diana's engagement ring. She rarely went without it when appearing in public. As far as I recall, she wore the ring to the White House, just like the dress she is wearing in the picture.