To Buy, or Not to Buy?

I’ve been thinking about the Coronation recently. Having a Coronation, for the first time in my life, tends to bring this sort of thing to the front of your mind.  I’m familiar with them from dealing in commemorative medallions, but this is the first one I’ve actually seen.

I’m told the final cost is about £160 million, which is well up on the estimate of £50 – £100 million we were told beforehand.  Unfortunately, my sources being limited to Google, I can’t confirm this.

Is it worth it? Personally, I had a bonus Saturday off work, then a Bank Holiday on the Monday, so I was happy. I’m fairly sure that the souvenir trade and providers of food, drink and accommodation will all have had a boost too. However, some people have different views.

Sovereign of King Charles III (Obverse)

Sovereign of King Charles III (Reverse)

Sorry the pictures lack detail – they are low-relief and very shiny, which is difficult to photograph in the shop lighting.

After the Lord Mayor’s Show . . . as the saying goes. No matter how good something is, we have a constant stream of people wanting to criticise.

The first quibble was that we shouldn’t have a monarchy. That’s a question for a later post. The second was that we could spend the money on something better.

We could use it to alleviate poverty, for instance. If you take the number of people of working age on benefits and divide the money up between them. It works out at £16 each. It might be a welcome boost, but it’s not going to make a lasting difference.

Or you could divide it up between the 1.6 million people who earn the minimum wage. That’s £100. It’s a nice bonus in one lump, but spread over the year its £2 a week.

To be fair to the Government they have already paid out far more than that in helping reduce fuel bills. Where do you draw the line?

What about buying things that Governments actually spend money on?

Nottingham 1902 coronation medal

We could buy 6oo Javelin anti-tank missiles for £104 million and still have change to buy 5 Challenger tanks. These are always useful when a World War is brewing, and I’d take more comfort from 600 anti-tank missiles than I would from knowing that we’d given people a few extra quid. You can buy cheaper tanks and missiles, but if people are shooting at you it’s probably wise to heed John Ruskin on the matter.

Or you could buy a top of the range F35 jet fighter and still have money left over to hang a load of bombs and missiles off it.

Or you could buy a private island. The truth is that to me (and I assume, to my readers) £160 million sounds like a lot of money,  To some people it’s just a yacht and a holiday home.

Nottingham 1902 coronation medal

Of course, despite the opinions we often see, the Royal Family does pay back. Judging by the amount of Royalty memorabilia we handle, there is a strong market for it. We also have tourism. It’s difficult to quantify how much this actually makes for us. I know it made us several hundred pounds last week after a big sale of commemorative coins and medallions to a keen buyer and that  hotel prices always go up at the time of Royal Events.

As a final thought – the Prince’s Trust has worked hard over the years to help the disadvantaged, and I’m guessing that it has probably done far more to help people than the cost of the Coronation.

I’m ambivalent about the Royal Family, and I’m not but I’m happy that £160 million on a Coronation (if it did cost that) isn’t bad value. It isn’t just frittered on trumpets and velvet, a lot of it goes on security. We live in a dangerous world, as we’ve seen many times.

1911 coronation – Nottingham

1911 coronation – Nottingham

1952 Coronation medal from Mansfield Woodhouse

11 thoughts on “To Buy, or Not to Buy?

  1. paolsoren

    The value of a monarchy that has very little actual power is that it holds the space that would be otherwise taken by a Dictator. The alternative is an elected president and unless you have 100% of the population voting he will always be either a Trump (God forbid) or a Biden (God forbid) and then the whole structure of the country will shatter. Better the Monarch you know than the President you will probably get..

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  3. tootlepedal

    It was just as boring as the last one was, believe me. Hours of mumbo jumbo with people in fancy dress to tell us something that we knew already. I am a definite grump as far as the royal family goes.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      A good point. It is difficult to get worked up over a coronation when we have already had declarations, proclamations and a State Funeral. for his mother.

  4. Lavinia Ross

    Much to think about here, Simon. You make good points. We have no monarchy over here, yet, and I am not sure it would be a good idea to start one in this country. On the other hand, seeing the division of the country in progress, it makes one wonder.

      1. Lavinia Ross

        The news is adequately depressing these days I cannot listen to it much. One faction has openly stated they “will not deal with hostages”, meaning the current party in power.

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