Official merchandise commemorating King Charles’s Coronation is being re-sold online for up to seven times as much as the asking price with experts warning that some items featured online could be fakes. The official chinaware made in Stoke-on-Trent went on sale on April 14 to mark the historic ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
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The range from the Royal Collection Trust charity features a bespoke design, combining the royal coat of arms and a garland of laurel leaves to symbolise peace.
Charles’s cypher, which is stamped in gold foil, features in the design by The College of Arms and consists of initials from his name and “rex”, the Latin for king.
Collectables including a mug, cup and saucer range in price from £30 to £75 with further such as a Coronation tea blend is on offer for less than £10. Coronation socks made in south Wales are also on sale for £16.
Some of the more popular items have already sold out, but eBay sellers are now cashing in by offering official merchandise for hundreds of pounds over the recommended retail prices.
A limited plate, already out of stock on the King’s official souvenir website, retails for £195, but it has reappeared on eBay where people are flogging the crockery for as much as £1,500.
Only 1,000 copies of the bone-china plate were produced.
A sold-out Coronation tankard initially priced at £50 is now on sale on eBay for £480.
Of the 1,000 copies of the £40 Coronation coin one is up for auction on the site with a starting bid of £120.
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Experts told the Telegraph that some pieces may not be authentic and warned buyers to be careful of fakes.
A cup and saucer with an official price of £75 was advertised for £165 while a £50 dessert plate is on eBay at almost three times the price at £139 but reports suggest doubts have been cast over its authenticity.
Jane Hawkes, a consumer rights activist and self-styled “Queen of customer service” said eBay sellers are trying to make a quick profit by taking advantage of people who wanted to celebrate the Coronation.
She told the Telegraph: “This is not an occasion for profiteering. It is about coming together as a nation and this collection should be accessible for all of us. We are all entitled to this piece of history.”
The Royal Collection Trust, which is to release more items in the lead-up to the King’s big day, declined to comment.
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The trust’s Head of Product Development and Buying, Ian Grant, said previously that the process of designing and manufacturing the pieces brought enormous pride to the staff working to produce the range.
The trust, which is part of the royal household, has been making commemorative china for 30 years.
Mr Grant said: “This is probably the most momentous occasion we’ve developed a product for.”
He added designers and artisans needed to create a line of desirable products “very quickly” after the Coronation date was announced.
The exact manufacturing location has been kept under wraps, but workers spoke of their delight at being involved in marking such a historic event.
On the factory floor in Stoke, high-quality white clay supplied from Devon and Cornwall was machine-mixed with water and other ingredients to form liquid clay for the merchandise.
This was sieved for impurities before it was piped and hand-poured into moulds by staff using pressurised hoses.
The drying clay pieces were then removed at precisely the right moment, in a process requiring careful timing, from plaster of Paris moulds.
More slip was used as a glue to attach individually moulded handles, if needed, by hand.
Mr Grant said each stage requires “years of training”, building to an “amazing process” which gives value to the Made in England stamp each item has applied on its base.
Once fettled, the china was fired in a biscuit kiln at 1,238C for 11 hours, baking the pottery to such an extent that when emptied it will have shrunk by 15 percent – a percentage of shrinkage which indicates a fine quality, bone china.
Pieces are then put in electric vibrating machines filled with small composite cubes of wood and pottery which act to “polish” each item without damaging them, allowing them to be glazed and fired again at 1,080C.
The items were then decorated with a hand-applied silkscreen litho print.
eBay has been approached for comment.
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