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THERE ARE 33 "LEARN MORE ABOUT..." TOPICS
Brass Advertising | British Placenames | British Royalty on Thimbles | British Silversmiths | Charles May | Christmas | Coalport
Dorcas Thimble Boxes | Easter | Gadgets | Francesca | Hallmarked Thimbles set | Miscellaneous Thimbles | 'Mother'
The World's Greatest Porcelain Houses | Royal Albert | Royal Crown Derby | Royal Doulton | Royal Worcester Handpainted Thimbles
Royal Worcester Decal Thimbles | S + H Foskett | Silver Advertising Thimbles | Spode | Stratnoid | SylvaC
Thimble Books | Thimble Collectors Club | Thimble Societies | Thimbles with Slogans
Thimblefuls | Victorian Silver Scenic Thimbles | Wedgwood Jasperware | Wedgwood Bone China

THERE ARE 20 PAGES OF THIMBLES & OTHER ITEMS TO BUY
aluminium 1 | books 1 | brass 1 | china 5 | display cases 1
needlework tools 2 | other collectables 1 | pewter 1 | plastic 1
silver 3 | steel & metal 1 | unusual materials 1 | wood 1

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I wasn't a thimble collector when the first thimbles appeared for the most important commemorative event in the modern era of thimble making. I am talking about Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. The exquisitely-made sterling silver thimbles by James Swann & Son must surely be one of the most well-known modern thimbles and shortly after I became a thimble collector in 1984, one joined my collection. It is still the only silver royal commemorative I own. The next huge occasion for commemorative thimbles in the United Kingdom was the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer and I eagerly sought one of these thimbles for my collection in 1984.

I have followed the production of royal commemorative thimbles, that for this purpose begins with the Ascension to the throne of HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, since I began collecting thimbles. I remember having the day off school in South Africa and I have the most vivid memory of listening to the coronation on the radio. I lived in London during 1969 and tho I watched the Prince Charles's Investiture on television, buying a commemorative thimble never crossed my mind - commemorative stamps were more in vogue then.

What has amazed me in doing this study on British royal thimbles since 1952, is how it reflects the history of the modern thimble making industry in the UK. I don't think there is an English modern thimble producer who has not had at least one royal commemorative thimble created in the last 50 years (Royal Doulton does spring to mind but they are not big thimble producers). The first commemorative china thimbles by Caverswall were as early as 1977 for the silver jubilee and no royal occasion passed until 1991 without a Caverswall commemorative thimble - Sutherland seems to have taken over this role when Caverswall closed and they are one of the few china producers making thimbles in any quantity in England today. The 1980s' production of royal thimbles reads like a who's who amongst thimble producers.

Henry Griffith & Sons ceased thimble production of their sterling silver thimbles in 1956, which was just in time to have produced one of the few thimbles made for the Coronation in 1953. James Swann & Son were also there for the coronation but having finally ceased production of all thimbles in 2005, they were the only English silversmiths making commemorative royal thimbles in any quantity in the second half of the twentieth century.

I had no idea just how many other silversmiths produced at least one royal commemorative thimble - and the Mappin & Webb silver thimble issued for the marriage of Charles and Diana, is an example of this.

Royal commemorative memorabilia is an industry in itself and if you think of the number of occasions there have been in the life of HM Queen Elizabeth II since 1952 - the "big" birthdays - anniversaries of her marriage to Prince Philip - anniversaries of her ascension to the throne and then her coronation and its anniversaries ... the list goes on and on. So it makes sense that there are more royal thimbles featuring HM than any other member of the royal family. Often there will be two thimbles for the same event by the same thimble maker - using the engagement photos of Charles and Diana for their wedding and then another with the wedding picture. Or "birth of a royal baby..." designed before the actual birth and then a sequel with the actual details of the baby born.

I have chosen to list the thimbles in a manner which I hope will become familiar to you with use, and I know there are hundreds of royal thimble collectors out there - chronologically for each member of the royal family listing thimbles for all their various birthdays, marriages and in some cases memorial thimbles. The biggest number of different thimbles produced for any single occasion was that for the wedding of Charles and Diana: 54 different thimbles, many of which are sets!! Their marriage in 1981 was the heyday of modern collectable thimble making!!

Being a British institution, 98% of royal thimbles produced were made in Britain, so it was surprising to find a few thimbles from Europe and now two have surfaced from the USA.

The wording on each thimble is as varied as the number of thimbles produced - some have just a commemorative year; others fit an entire biography written on the verso. There are always official royal photographs issued at royal milestones, but most thimble producers have ignored these and created a unique design different from their competitors, reflecting their prestige in the souvenir market. Prince of Wales feathers feature prominently.

I have grouped the family of each member of the royal family together ie Princess Anne's children are featured under the Princess Anne heading etc.

Will any of the royal thimbles produced in the last 50+ years become the antiques of the future, matching the rare and highly desirable sterling silver thimbles produced in the middle of Victoria's reign?

I am sure there are many royal thimbles that have not yet crossed my path - there are around 710 recorded here, with nearly 50 different thimbles alone produced for Prince Charles marriage in 1981 - please be sure to share your favourite royal thimbles that I may have missed.

What will be the next royal event to be commemorated? HM Queen Elizabeth's 60th Jubilee of her ascension to the throne in February 2012 is the latest one recorded - and who can forget that majestic 1000-ship armada parading down the Thames in June of this year?


The Royal family   |   Queen Elizabeth II   |   Prince Philip   |   Prince Charles   |   Princess Diana   |   Princess Anne   |   Prince Andrew   |   Prince Edward   |   Princess Margaret   |   Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother  |   Prince William   |   Prince Henry


The Royal family members


John Urwin
china
August birthdays for Queen Mother - Princess Margaret - Princess Anne - Princess Beatrice

John Urwin
sycamore
15 Royal Family members by birth


John Urwin
sycamore
The Royal Family

Cottage China
china
The Royal Family

Connoisseur Collection
resin and china
The Royal Collection from L to R
QEII's golden jubilee; The Queen Mother
Princess Margaret; QEII's 75th birthday
Prince Charles;
The Queen Mother's 100th birthday

china

Julie Menzies
handpainted china
Prince Philip at 85-Queen Elizabeth at 1980 - 2006

Julie Menzies
handpainted china
Prince Philip at 90-Queen Elizabeth at 1985 - 2011

china

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HM Queen Elizabeth II
21 April 1926
birthdays - marriage - ascension and reign - coronation - other

Birthdays

60th birthday
21 April 1986


Tony Bouchet
agateware

Caverswall
china

Finsbury
china

Stephen Frost - Warwick Models
pewter
Trooping the Colour 1986
retirement of Burmese [horse]

Irish Dresden
porcelain
commissioned by Kay Sullivan "De Vingerhoed"
lettering in Dutch
photo: Paddy Puntis

St George
china set of 7

Sutherland
china

Sutherland/Scotland Direct
china

James Swann & Son
sterling silver

James Swann & Son
sterling silver
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London

James Swann & Son
sterling silver and enamel

Woodsetton Peeps
brass


handpainted china
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London

pewter

German silver-plate with enamel badge


65th birthday
21 April 1991


Tony Bouchet
agateware

Swann Thimbles
sterling silver

Woodsetton Peeps
brass


70th birthday
21 April 1996


Jane Chantler and Ailsa McKenzie
of AJ Designs

sterling silver
500 commissioned by The Thimble Society of London
also 200 available in gold

Julie Menzies
handpainted china

Sutherland
china

Sutherland
china

Sutherland 1
china

Sutherland 2
china

Sutherland 3
china

Sutherland 4
china

Sutherland 5
china

Sutherland 6
china

Sutherland 7
china

Sutherland 8
china

The Thimble Guild
china


75th birthday
21 April 2001


Museum Collections
china

Rachel Pugh
china

Woodsetton Peeps
lacquer and brass


80th birthday
21 April 2006


Tony Bouchet
agateware

Stephen Frost - Warwick Models
pewter

Julie Menzies
handpainted beechwood

Julie Menzies
handpainted china

Julie Menzies
handpainted china


Norfolk China
china

Wedgwood
handpainted china
by John French
commissioned by The Thimble Guild

Wedgwood
jasperware

Woodsetton Peeps
brass

china

china

china


84th birthday
21 April 2010


china

china
from painting by Rupert Alexander


85th birthday
21 April 2011


Julie Menzies
handpainted china

The Thimble Guild
china

china

china
Trooping the Colour for her 85th birthday


86th birthday
21 April 2012


Miss Mouse
china



Marriage and anniversaries
20 November 1947

Ruby wedding
20 November 1987
some of the thimbles are decorated with rubies


Tony Bouchet
agateware

Caverswall
china

St George
china

Sutherland
china

Sutherland
china

Woodsetton Peeps
brass

Woodsetton Peeps
brass
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London

silverplated

Golden wedding
20 November 1997


Christopher Bowen
9 ct gold
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London

Christopher Bowen
sterling silver
also available in silver-gilt
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London

Jane Chantler and Ailsa McKenzie
of AJ Designs

sterling silver

Norfolk China
china

Royal Crown Derby
china pair

Sutherland
china

Sutherland 1
china

Sutherland 2
china

Sutherland 3
china

Sutherland 4
china

Sutherland 5
china

Sutherland 6
china

Wedgwood
jasperware
commissioned by Thimble Collectors Society

china

china

Diamond wedding
20 November 2007


Julie Menzies
handpainted china
photo: The Thimble Guild

Harvey Sillis
sterling silver
with a diamond on the apex

Woodsetton Peeps
silverplated
commissioned by The Thimble Guild

china

china

china

china

china

china



Ascension to the throne and anniversaries
6 February 1952

Silver jubilee
1952-1977


Adrian Gerald Benney
sterling silver

Caverswall
china

Shirley Frost
sterling silver

Highland China
china

James Swann & Son
sterling silver

James Swann & Son
sterling silver and enamel
the initials CH on the portrait
are for Chris Harmer the artist

James Swann & Son
sterling silver and enamel
BUY THIS THIMBLE

James Swann & Son
sterling silver and enamel

Peter Swingler
sterling silver and enamel

Peter Swingler
sterling silver and enamel

Jennifer M Young
sterling silver and gilt
with garnets

sterling silver

sterling silver

30 years' reign
1952-1982


PVM
gilt sterling silver

china

40 years' reign
1952-1992


Sutherland
china

James Swann & Son
sterling silver
Commemorating a 40 year reign

James Swann & Son
sterling silver
Queen Elizabeth II 40 Years 1992

James Swann & Son
sterling silver
QEII 1952-1992

sterling silver

china

china

45 years' reign
1952-1997


Swann Thimbles/The Thimble Guild
sterling silver

50 years' reign Golden Jubilee
1952-2002


Bilston
china
set of 4 each with different apex

Birchcroft
china set of 4

Birchcroft
china set of 4

Birchcroft / Keelings
china set of 4

Birchcroft
china set of 4

Birchcroft
china

Jane Chantler
sterling silver
commissioned by The Thimble Society of London
also available in 9 ct gold

Stephen Frost - Warwick Models
handpainted pewter

Mayfair
china

Museum Collections
china

Museum Collections
china

Museum Collections
china

Rowena Designs
silver-gilt over china

David Scott-Walker
sterling silver

Harvey Sillis
sterling silver
also available in silver-gilt + 9 ct gold

James Swann & Son
sterling silver
similar to 1977 silver jubilee thimble

James Swann & Son
silver gilt
similar to 1977 silver jubilee thimble

James Swann & Son
sterling silver and enamel

Woodsetton Peeps
brass and silver-gilt

Woodsetton Peeps
pewter

china

china

china

china

china

Jubilee Album set of 5
china

Jubilee Album set of 5
china

Jubilee Album set of 5
china

Jubilee Album set of 5
china

Jubilee Album set of 5
china

60 years' reign Diamond Jubilee
1952-2012


Carol Ann Miniatures
pewter

Jane Chantler
sterling silver

Cottage China
china

Cottage China
china

Cottage China
china
at Chelsea Flower Show

Cottage China
china
with Kate and Camilla

Cottage China
china
royal pageant

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - royal barge

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - royal barge

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - royal barge

Cottage China
china
royal pageant

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - royal barge

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - Prince Charles and Camilla

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - Prince William and Kate

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - Prince William

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - Kate

Cottage China
china
royal pageant - Prince Harry

Stephen Frost
pewter and crystal

Stephen Frost
pewter

Stephen Frost
pewter and crystals

Lesley George & Co, Worcester
china set of 5

Harrison Brothers & Howson
sterling silver

Julie Menzies
handpainted china

Julie Menzies
handpainted china & crystals

Merryfield Pottery, Devon
china
Coronation Cat

Museum Collections
china

Museum Collections
china

PJ Collection [Peter Jones China]
china

Wedgwood
jasperware
commissioned by the Thimble Guild
photo: Sue Burt

Woodsetton Peeps
lacquer

Woodsetton Peeps
silver-plated copper

china
official jubilee design
10 year old Chester's
Catherine Dewar

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china

china
with Harrods



Coronation and anniversaries
2 June 1953

Coronation
2 June 1953


Iles & Gomms
brass

Iles & Gomms
silver-plate

Henry Griffith & Sons
sterling silver

James Swann & Son
gilt and sterling silver

James Swann & Son
sterling silver

Coronation 25 year anniversary
2 June 1978


Caverswall
china

Coronation 30 year anniversary
2 June 1983


Caverswall
china

Spode
china

Sutherland
china with Swarovski crystal

handpainted china

Coronation 40 year anniversary
2 June 1993


Tony Bouchet
agateware

Tony Bouchet
agateware

Derby
china

Sutherland
china

James Swann & Son
sterling silver and rubies

Swann Thimbles
9 ct gold and rubies

Peter Swingler
sterling silver and enamel

Thimble Craft by Shirley
porcelain

Meg Urwin - Thimbleworld
china

Jacqui Walker
crocheted with beads

Woodsetton Peeps
pewter

Coronation 50 year golden anniversary
2 June 2003


Stephen Frost - Warwick Models
handpainted pewter

Julie Menzies
handpainted china

Museum Collections
china

Museum Collections
china


beechwood

china

china

Coronation 60 year diamond anniversary
2 June 2013


Julie Menzies
china

Julie Menzies
handpainted china

Rowena
pewter

china

china

china

china

china



Other occasions and mixed sets


Birchcroft
china
from Royal Ladies set

Birchcroft
china
from a set of 6 kings and queens of 20th C

Tony Bouchet
agateware
from a set of Monarchs of 20th C = 1952

Caverswall
china
from set "50 Great Britons"

Connoisseur
china

Finsbury/Fenton
china
from a set of Monarchs of 20th C

Harrison Brothers & Howson
sterling silver
2000 - Sheffield

Miss Mouse
china
with her Royal Guard 2012

Rachel Pugh
china
from set of "Monarchs of 20th century"

Royal Grafton
china
Royal visit to China October 1986

Settmacher
oxidised brass

Settmacher

Sutherland
china
Royal visit to China October 1986

Sutherland
china
God save our Gracious Queen

Sutherland
china

Sutherland
china
75 years of the House of Windsor

Peter Swingler
sterling silver and enamel

Wedgwood
jasperware
from set of "Kings and Queens"

Wedgwood
jasperware

Woodsetton Peeps
brass
Visit Australia Expo 1988

firehydrant china
Royal visit Australia 1992
Western Plains Zoo

china
visit to Wimbledon 2010

china
visit to Australia 2011

china
visit to Ireland 2011

china
Trooping the Colour 2012

firehydrant china

china
Queen Elizabeth II-Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother-Princess Margaret

handpainted pewter

china
Royal Variety 1952-2012

china
Service Award 60 years 2013

china
Stamps 60 years 2013

set of 12 Woodsetton Peeps covering HM reign 1926-1990


1926 - Princess Elizabeth's birth

1933 - Princess Margaret's birth

1937 - Coronation of her parents

1944 - War effort

1947 - Marriage

1933 - Prince Charles's birth

1950 - Princess Anne's birth

1953 - Coronation

1964 - Prince Andrew and Prince Edward

1977- Silver Jubilee

1987 - Ruby wedding

1990 - Royal visit to Germany


Prince Philip   |   Prince Charles   |   Princess Diana   |   Princess Anne   |   Prince Andrew   |   Prince Edward   |   Princess Margaret   |   Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother  |   Prince William   |   Prince Henry

DO YOU KNOW ANY MORE DETAILS ABOUT ROYALTY THIMBLES?
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER ROYALTY THIMBLES NOT MENTIONED?
DO YOU HAVE ANY ROYALTY THIMBLES NOT PICTURED or a CLEARER PICTURE?

EMAIL thimbleselect@bigpond.com TO SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE.


References
Dorothy Friend. British commemorative and souvenir thimbles. 1987
Gimbels & Sons Country Store Catalogues
Charlotte Goldberg. Hurley porcelain thimbles / TCI Bulletin winter 2009. p.10-11
The Thimble Guild, Scotland. Catalogues
The Thimble Society [of London] catalogues


Contributors

Linda Berkery | Sue Burt | Kit Froebel | Charlotte Goldberg | Lydia Hamilton | Linda Heggs | Margaret Hickling | Shirley Hunter | Ray Nimmo | Heather Pead | Paddy Puntis | Wolf-Dieter Scholz | Jean Taylor | Hans-Ulrich Vogel | Joanna Waciorski



This listing of Royalty thimbles does not purport to be complete or accurate in all aspects.
Rather it invites comment and contribution to add to our knowledge. My thanks to the contributors.

Enjoy!

© Sue Gowan
October 2006


THERE ARE 33 "LEARN MORE ABOUT..." TOPICS
Brass Advertising | British Placenames | British Royalty on Thimbles | British Silversmiths | Charles May | Christmas | Coalport
Dorcas Thimble Boxes | Easter | Gadgets | Francesca | Hallmarked Thimbles set | Miscellaneous Thimbles | 'Mother'
The World's Greatest Porcelain Houses | Royal Albert | Royal Crown Derby | Royal Doulton | Royal Worcester Handpainted Thimbles
Royal Worcester Decal Thimbles | S + H Foskett | Silver Advertising Thimbles | Spode | Stratnoid | SylvaC
Thimble Books | Thimble Collectors Club | Thimble Societies | Thimbles with Slogans
Thimblefuls | Victorian Silver Scenic Thimbles | Wedgwood Jasperware | Wedgwood Bone China

THERE ARE 20 PAGES OF THIMBLES & OTHER ITEMS TO BUY
aluminium 1 | books 1 | brass 1 | china 5 | display cases 1
needlework tools 2 | other collectables 1 | pewter 1 | plastic 1
silver 3 | steel & metal 1 | unusual materials 1 | wood 1

Any questions or comments?
thimbleselect@bigpond.com
I do not offer any type of valuation or advice on prices.

  Last updated 16 January 2014  
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