A grandmother who owns the largest collection of royal memorabilia in the world has revealed how her thousands of artifacts are worth more than her £200,000 house.
Self-confessed ‘royal nut’ Anita Atkinson, 64, from County Durham, is the proud owner of 7,000 royal items including jugs, tea towels and flags spanning 200 years.
Items date back to 1760 – with her most prized possession being a framed napkin that was used by Prince Charles during a flight.
The collection is reportedly worth thousands – with a rare oil painting of the Duke of Kent likely to fetch £60,000 if put on auction.
Anita Atkinson, 64, from Crook, has created her own royal memorabilia museum has a collection worth more than her £200,000 house
She has been building up her collection since 1977 after being gifted a double pack of playing cards featuring the silver jubilee logo (pictured, in the museum)
Anita’s collection is said to be worth more than her house – which is estimated to be worth £203,000.
But the royal historian insists she will never sell the collection as she hopes to pass it down the generations.
Anita has since updated her royal museum – located in an old dairy farm – to include a tribute to Prince Philip.
She had showcased some of the memorabilia built up over the years including portraits, books, coronation tins and jubilee mugs.
The collection is reportedly worth thousands – with a rare oil painting of the Duke of Kent likely to fetch £60,000 if put on auction (pictured)
Anita explained that ‘her mother was a royalist’ and that’s where her interest stemmed from.
She said: ‘In 1977, the whole world had seen the 25th anniversary of the queen’s reign and that’s how I started building a collection by accident.
‘Everything you bought at the time had the silver jubilee logo on whether it was a bottle of milk or a box of matches.
‘When I last counted, I had 12,152 items but I have gained a lot more since then – 70 per cent of the items in my collection have been given to me by people wanting someone to look after their historic items.’
Anita, whose mother was a royalist, has built up a collection featuring more than 12,000 items dating back to 1760
The royal historian insists she will never sell the collection because she hopes to pass it down the generations
Anita added that her expansive collection of memorabilia can no longer fit in her home, and that every item is worth hundreds of pounds.
She added: ‘I thought my whole collection would fit in the old dairy farm but it doesn’t – I have 7,000 items in the museum and 5,000 in the loft in my house!
‘Every item is worth hundreds – if not thousands each and it’s going to be worth a lot of money.
‘For me, it’s not just about building up a collection, it’s about educating people on the history of the monarchy.’
Anita’s collection is said to be worth more than her house – which is estimated to be worth £203,000 (pictured)
Speaking of her prized possession – a napkin used by Prince Charles – Anita said she had it framed after her auntie helped secure the possession (pictured, Anita in her museum of objects)
Speaking of her prized possession – a napkin used by Prince Charles – Anita said she had it framed after her auntie helped secure the possession.
She said: ‘One of my aunties was a security guard at Teesside International Airport and in 1977, Prince Charles’ plane was diverted due to bad weather conditions and he landed at the airport.
‘It was my birthday coming up and so she asked the Royal Flight if there was anything she could have that Prince Charles’ had used – they were intrigued.
‘They gave her a paper napkin that he had used on the flight and bought me a birthday card and signed it for me – I have it framed hanging up in my house and it’s definitely one of my most prized possessions’.
Anita has vowed to never sell her beloved collection and is hoping to pass it down to her grandchildren one day (pictured with her granddaughters)
After the Duke of Edinburgh passed away earlier this year, Anita decided to create him a memorial inside the museum
After the Duke of Edinburgh passed away earlier this year, Anita decided to create him a memorial inside the museum.
She explained: ‘After Prince Philip died, I was getting frustrated by the amount of people who didn’t know anything about his history.
‘They don’t realise how much work goes into the monarchy and it’s pure ignorance.
‘I don’t have a huge amount of memorabilia for Prince Philip but I set up a little collection for him.
She said she is hoping to help educate people about the history of the monarchy with the enormous collection
Anita added her expansive collection can no longer fit in her home, and that every item is worth hundreds of pounds (pictured a funeral sermon for Princess Charlotte of Wales)
The royalist thought her collection would fit inside her old dairy farm but has found the property is bursting at the seems – she has 7,000 items in the museum and 5,000 in the loft
‘I have items from his 60th birthday but he’s on a lot of coronation tins, jubilee mugs, golden wedding anniversary memorabilia but he doesn’t have much of his own.
‘I think it’s probably because he didn’t want it.’
Anita has vowed to never sell her beloved collection and is hoping to pass it down to her grandchildren one day.
She added: ‘I’m not interested in the value of my collection because I know I will never sell it.
When Anita last counted, her collection had 12,152 items but she added she ‘has gained a lot more since then’
The royal enthusiast said she is ‘not interested’ in the value of her expansive collection because she knows she ‘will never sell it’
Anita said a lot of people may see the collection as ‘junk’ but she feels it is important to preserve the history of the monarchy
‘I’ve just written my will and I’ve put my four granddaughters down to have the collection much to the relief of my children!
‘My son always tells me that the collection is worth more than the house and questions why I don’t sell it but I never will.
‘If they want to sell it when I’m gone, they can but I’m hoping they will continue it and one of my granddaughters is very interested in the collection and learning about the monarchy.
Anita said her museum often isn’t even locked away because she doesn’t think that many people would be interested in stealing the collection
‘There are quite a few items in the collection that would be worth a lot of money and a lot of them were given to me or are charity shop finds.
‘Most of the time, my museum isn’t even locked because I doubt many people would want the collection!
‘A lot of people see it as junk but even if someone did want to steal it, they would need a huge wagon and it would take them weeks because there’s so much of it’.