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by Kirsteen Paterson
05 May 2023
King Charles Coronation: What is a Crown really worth?

King Charles coronation tea towel, anyone?

King Charles Coronation: What is a Crown really worth?

A few weeks ago my mum had a clear out and handed me, amongst other odds and sods, a dull silver coin stamped with the images of the Queen, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana.

Produced in 1981 to mark the Royal wedding, it was a present to wee me from a great aunt for, we think, my christening. It was, of course, a lovely thought from a well-wishing relative. But it is also a deeply unimpressive item, as official commemorations go, huge though it is.

A quick Google reveals the coin is a Crown, worth 25p at face value, and made of copper-nickel. As many as 27 million of them were made, apparently, and if I’m lucky I might be able to flog it for £4 on ebay.

My Great Aunt Dot, when she bought it, was likely thinking more of symbolic and sentimental value than potential resale – and with the internet still to be invented, posting it on ebay would have been tricky even if I had developed the dexterity needed to wield a mouse – but it holds neither of these for me.

I remember Dot, or Chief Inspector Whyte to those who served with her, as an impressive and adventurous woman who forged her own path and told a good yarn, though none of these, to my recollection, were connected to the monarchy. It is possible that in the course of her police duties she rubbed shoulders with a Lord Lieutenant, an earl, possibly even a prince.

The closest I got in the line of journalistic duty was watching Princess Anne from afar while she visited a children’s hospice (we’d been told she’d do no media while there, and on that she did not disappoint). At least, that was until last year when I and colleagues joined the crowds on Canongate to watch the Queen’s funeral procession.

It was there that a young man broke the silence, heckling Prince Andrew over sex abuse allegations, drawing a collective gasp from the crowd and prompting a burly tweed-clad man leaning out of a first-floor window to cry “god save the king” to drown him out. Charles, in full regalia, had been almost close enough to touch.

And now Charles has become King and, with the coronation pending, we are in the Carolean era. Open shows of support in Scotland have been muted, with councils like Glasgow and Falkirk recording not a single request for street parties ahead of the grand event.

At home with my souvenir Charles & Di Crown, I have purchased no signature coins to pass on to my kids, though they have of course been minted. Nor have I splurged on tea towels, teddies or mugs. History is being made, yes, but it need not be bought and paid for.

Anyway, I suspect the only way to make my kids care about such souvenirs would be to modernise the memorabilia itself. Perhaps a limited edition bottle of Prime, the sports drink marketed by YouTubers and beloved of pre-teen boys? Or how about a Charles III crochet water bottle holder for the festival crowd or an emblazoned puffa jacket for that “roadman drip”? My youth sources tell me this means looking cool and that these are covetable items. And who knows what they may be worth 40 years hence when I produce them, unloved and unused, from a forgotten box in the loft?

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