Wallis’s lucky charm: US silver dollar coin that the Duchess of Windsor carried in her handbag to bring her good fortune set to fetch £1,000 when it is sold at auction next week
- A silver dollar coin carried by Wallis Simpson as a good luck charm is to be sold
- The 1.5in piece is expected to fetch up to £1,000 at auction next week
- Thought to have been given to the Duchess by her parents or grandparents
A US silver dollar coin carried by Wallis Simpson in her handbag as a ‘good luck charm’ is to be sold.
The 1.5in piece, expected to fetch up to £1,000 at auction next week, is thought to have been given to the Duchess of Windsor by her parents or grandparents.
The 1885 coin ended up with the current owner after it was gifted by Sydney Johnson, the butler to Simpson’s husband – Edward VIII.
A US silver dollar coin carried by Wallis Simpson in her handbag as a ‘good luck charm’ is to be sold
The former king famously shocked the world and abdicated the British throne after his relationship with the divorcée threatened a constitutional crisis. Edward and Simpson pictured above
The former king famously shocked the world and abdicated the British throne after his relationship with the divorcée threatened a constitutional crisis.
Then a prince, Edward and socialite Simpson first met in 1931 and embarked on a whirlwind romance.
But her status as a two-time divorced woman made her a huge problem for the traditional Royal family – especially when the couple announced plans to marry.
The 1.5in piece, expected to fetch up to £1,000 at auction next week, is thought to have been given to the Duchess of Windsor by her parents or grandparents
The Duchess of Windsor was said to have kept the ‘lucky coin’ in her handbag
Made king in early 1936, Edward still pushed forward with his proposal to Simpson – eventually causing his abdication at the end of the year.
The married pair were then handed the titles of Duke and Duchess of Windsor by King George VI, the successor to the throne, and lived out life in high society.
Wallis’ lucky coin is being sold by Bristol-based auction house Paul Frase Collectibles and is open for bidding online.
It is accompanied by several unused notelets belonging to the Duchess, some printed with the words: ‘From the desk of HRH The Duchess of Windsor’.
The silver dollar was gifted to the current vendor, a photographer, by butler Mr Johnson during a shoot of the couple’s luxurious home in Paris, France in the 1980s.
The letter of authenticity reads, in part: ‘In the mid eighties I was in charge of a photographic team that had been engaged to take interior photographs of the former house of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
‘The photographs were for a brochure for a museum that the house would become, all arranged by Muhammad al Fayed, onetime owner of Harrods.
Daniel Wade, manager at Paul Fraser Collectibles inspects a coin which once belonged to Wallis Simpson
‘While in the house we were accompanied by the former butler to the Windsors. During the photographic session I asked the butler if we had any paper that I could use to write descriptions of the rooms.
‘He told me to help myself from the paper that had belonged to the Duchess.
‘When after several hours the photography had finished the butler saw us to the door.
‘I gave him a tip of 50 francs. He said: ‘You have been very kind now take this’, taking a coin from his waist coat pocket. I looked and saw it was a one dollar United States coin dated 1885.
I said: ‘Oh that’s very nice’, and he said to me: ‘It’s even better than you think young man. This was a token of luck carried around by Madame (the Duchess of Windsor) in her handbag, it may have belonged to her parents or grandparents’.’
The scandal surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Windsor
American socialite Simpson, a divorcee, caused international scandal when King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry her.
The pair met in 1931 while Simpson was married to her second husband, Ernest Simpson.
Five years later, after Edward became king, Wallis divorced her second husband to marry him.
Her status as a two-time divorced woman made her a huge problem for the Royal family.
Edward VIII married American socialite divorcee Wallis Simpson at the Château de Candé in Monts, France
King Edward VIII announced he wanted to marry Mrs Simpson, which threatened a constitutional crisis and led to his abdication in December 1936 to marry ‘the woman I love’.
The couple married at the Château de Candé in Monts, France.
The former king was succeeded by his brother, King George VI.
Wallis married Edward six months later, after which she was formally known as the Duchess of Windsor, but was not allowed to share her husband’s style of ‘Royal Highness’.
In 1937, they visited Nazi Germany and met with Adolf Hitler.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Duke and Duchess shuttled between Europe and the United States living out their life in high society.
After the Duke’s death in 1972, the Duchess lived in seclusion and was rarely seen in public.