The Crown Jewels: a look at our insured unique collections

Our King's coronation has inspired us to look at our insured unique collections.

It was over 70 years ago our late Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, taking over Queen Victoria as the longest reigning Monarch. Elizabeth II once said “you can’t look down to read the speech, you have to take the speech up, because if you did your neck would break and it would fall off.” When describing ‘St Edward's Crown' from the crowned jewels collection.

The crown features 444 precious and fine gemstones, including topazes, rubies, sapphires and much more. We’ve now seen the jewels on King Charles III coronation, which has inspired us to take a deeper dive into some of the more unique collections we have encountered over the years.

There seems to be a natural human instinct to want to preserve and collect things. In childhood many of us will have collected a variety of items like plastic figurines, trading cards, dolls, soft toys, books, stamps, and so on. In adulthood, many continue to find the desire to collect irresistible and what’s interesting is that the motivations for collecting can vary considerably from person to person. 

Some may collect due to an intense curiosity or fascination with a particular subject matter. For others, collecting may enable a form of self-expression or bring the opportunity to connect with others as part of a community of collectors. The thrill of the quest can be a strong motivator for those seeking rare or difficult to find items and having an extensive collection of such items can bring a certain prestige and status.  Cultural influences, desire for knowledge, investment, or just the simple joy that accompanies the arrival of a new acquisition, the list of reasons why we collect goes on.

It’s fairly common to insure sizeable collections of records, CDs, books, films, coins, stamps, medals, prints and the like. We asked some of our High Net Worth underwriters to recall the more unique, interesting and valuable collections that they have encountered over the years. Some of their favourites included:

  • An array of retired/decommissioned WW2 era tanks, vehicles, planes, cockpits and artillery.
  • A wide range of space craft parts and various other paraphernalia from numerous NASA space missions.
  • Dinosaur skulls, bones and other fossils.
  • Rare and vintage guitars formerly owned by famous musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.
  • Antique samurai swords with a combined value in excess of £1million.
  • A collection of vintage telephone boxes.
  • Pokémon trading cards valued over £300k.
  • A vast collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

We have a flexible underwriting attitude when it comes to collectible property so if you’re looking to obtain a quotation for a client with an unusual or interesting collection, please get in touch and we’d be delighted to have a look at it for you.