A GRANDAD-of-three with a decades-old collection of Royal memorabilia worth thousands said he would never sell it to make money for himself.
Paul Smith, 73, who lives in Wrexham, North Wales, began collecting Royal memorabilia in 1984 after he went to the library to look up a tricky crossword clue on Henry VIII.
Paul worked in a maximum security prison and said he used to sit on the landing watching prisoners walk around, a job he says was ‘boring’.
Fortunately, to pass the time, he was allowed to do certain activities -like crosswords – which was what sparked his almost 40 year passion.
He said: “One of the clues was the year of birth of Henry VIII. I didn’t know so I went to find out in the library and from then on I was very interested.”
Paul’s secret? When he’s out, every time he walks past an antique or junk shop, he goes in.
He said: “My wife thought I was mad, but she always supported me.”
“She insisted I keep everything in the study upstairs, so my study is absolutely jam packed.”
Sadly, Paul’s wife Christine was diagnosed with cancer and passed away on December 4 2022.
Paul said: “My duty was to her care, and my ‘hobby’ was placed on the back burner in order for me to look after my beloved wife.
“I am sure Chris would have loved me taking this up again.”
Paul’s favourite item, a chart hand drawn in 1885 by a woman called Shirley Smith, was bought for him as a present from an auction.
“Shirley collated it and drew it, and she checked all the details. It goes back to Adam and Eve. You can trace it right back.”
One of Paul’s finds came as a bit of a surprise – when he went into a charity shop in Evesham, he found a box of various items that he started going through.
He said: “At the bottom was a bronze medallion. It was quite a large one and I thought – I know what that is.”
This medallion turned out to be minted in 1851, and is now worth well over £1,000.
Paul has no idea how much his entire collection is worth, but with the medallion alone valued at over £1,000, it is sure to be a lot.
Despite this, Paul said he was not interested in selling anything.
He said: “If I did think about downsizing, I would possibly donate to a charity shop like Marie Curie, but I wouldn’t want to make money from it.”
Paul says the coronation is his biggest interest, and one of his oldest pieces is a pressed glass plate from Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837.
In preparation for King Charles II’s coronation on 6 May, Paul will hang his vast collection of royal standards- flags used to represent the Sovereign – in his local church.
Paul said: “I can remember the Queen’s [Elizabeth II] coronation. I was four years old but I can remember it very clearly. This is quite unique because I think a very large number of people have never seem a coronation.”
Paul hopes to find other people with the same interest, and that his collection could be made public.
“What really annoys me is that nobody is going to see them.
“Since my wife was taken ill nobody ever sees them.”
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