Long live our noble Queen: Events and mementoes
On 9 September 2015, the reigning British monarch Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria's record of 63 years and 216 days. In the past, momentous occasions have been marked with the production of official and unofficial commemorative souvenirs.
There are a number of royal mementos in the Auckland Museum collection. They include mugs, plates, cups and saucers, a handkerchief, cushion and medals.
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal
Awarded as a personal souvenir to a select list of people both military and civilian, between 130,000 and 140,000 silver medals were issued after Queen Elizabeth was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.
The rim on these souvenir medals was not impressed.
The news of Mount Everest being successfully conquered by a team led by Colonel John Hunt reached London in time to be announced on Coronation Day. This prompted the Queen to issue a further 37 medals with "Mount Everest Expedition" especially impressed on the rim.
The Museum holds the two coronation medals issued to Sir Edmund Hillary - the standard issue and also the Mount Everest Expedition medal.
Queen Victoria Coronation Medal
Queen Victoria also had a commemorative medal produced – actually, more than one. This particular medal is by Griffin & Hyams, who issued medals in the 1830s -1840s.
Toy Coach Model
While commemorative medals and coins are commonly produced for such occasions, the commercial souvenir market always offers a range of other commemoratives.
This toy model is of the Gold State Coach that has carried British royalty since George IV to special events including coronations - the coach carried both young Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II to theirs.
Although we have few provenance details to confirm this coach was specifically made to celebrate the coronation, the original box it arrived with matches those produced for the 1953 coronation.
It is human nature to want to mark significant occasions on all social levels. Commemorative items and mementos have always been a popular category of item to collect. The broad range of objects available - including toys, elegant medals, newspapers and spoons - foster remembrance and enable everyone to feel as if they are part of a special occasion.
Cite this article
Long live our noble Queen: Events and mementoes. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 8 September 2015. Updated: 29 September 2015.