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Columnist WiseWords

Alright, alright, so I didn’t spot the wide range of Magna Carta memorabilia that has been produced for the 800th anniversary of it being granted by King John. Thanks to everyone who took the

David Metcalfe’s enthusiasm for anniversary memorabilia has been taken up by readers. But could his latest finds prove a step too far?

trouble to point these out to me. There are ceramic dishes, mugs, at least one chess set, facsimile copies of the document itself, in various sizes and on paper as well as parchment and, for all I know, which obviously isn’t much, on vellum. These are available framed or rolled into a handy protective tube. I am sure that there are still other objects to which my attention hasn’t been drawn, but I am assured that they are all selling well, particularly in heritage gift outlets. I imagine that the reason I didn’t spot them on display at Spring Fair was probably because they had all sold out at last year’s Autumn Fair – or even last year’s Spring Fair. This trade plans so far ahead these days. And I am sure that memorabilia

(souvenirs, as we used to call the products) for all the other landmark

anniversaries occurring this year are also selling well. As I write this, the great news of the arrival of Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, Princess of Cambridge has been exciting us all. I was amazed to receive an email from a well-known retailer in the South-West of England, within minutes of the happy announcement, drawing my attention to the range of commemorative products which would shortly be available to purchase in honour of the birth. Hats off to them, and congratulations to their marketing team for being on the ball, and I know that my old pals in Stoke-on-Trent will be working overtime to fill the orders. Another great anniversary was that

of the 70th anniversary of VE Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, although the war in the Far East would continue for another year. This seems to be celebrated not only in the giftware industry (Keep calm and…..), but also in the fashion industry where styles from the forties and early fifties are making something of a comeback. It seems that this year

from David Metcalfe

is really special for remembering key moments in our history. Heritage retailing (museum gift

shops to you and me, although the range of outlets is much wider than that) is big business nowadays. I was saddened to learn that, back in April, a privately-owned motor museum closed, and all the exhibits were being sold at auction. I couldn’t resist having a look at the catalogue. There, amongst the old Jaguars, Austins and Vauxhalls were a couple of items offered for sale to the highest bidder which took my breath away. Offered for sale, with no reserve, were an Abbott Tank from 1970, and a 1965 Russian Zil 131 Gaz surface-to-air missile transporter together with a SA 2 missile. Now, given that in my local garden centre you cannot buy a pair of secateurs without providing proof of age and identity, this seems to be a remarkable opportunity to annoy the neighbours.

David Metcalfe

14 Giftware Review & Home Interiors May / June 2015

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