Covid-related items could become highly collectible

By Geoff Harris

Covid-related items could become highly collectible

If you are about to embark on a spring-cleaning spree, or moving to a new house and eager to get rid of items which have been lying around for a while, take a moment before heading to the local council tip.

Some items you might have picked up during the pandemic could end up being worth quite a lot.

According to a recent report by online antiques portal LoveAntiques.com, items such as original NHS rainbow posters, official government letters relating to the pandemic and a first-edition signed copy of the late Captain Tom Moore’s book will all be an important part of history – and could be worth up to £25,000.

“The 2020 pandemic is a significant moment in history that generations will learn about, similar to a world war,” said LoveAntiques.com. “Just as WW1 memorabilia is now valuable, memorabilia from the past year will also become valuable as collector items.”

According to the company, the most valuable items and their expected market value by 2120 are as follows:

· Captain Tom Moore autograph - up to £25,000

· Government letters (shielding, allowing workers to cross borders, Boris Johnson announcing lockdown) - £600 - £800

· Original NHS rainbow posters - £500

· Vaccine cards - £450

· Newspapers from March 23rd 2020 - £275

· COVID-19 testing kit - £150

· COVID-19 testing paperwork - £100

With many adults in the UK now vaccinated, and presumably getting their second jab in the next few weeks, it sounds like it is definitely worth hanging on to the paperwork for posterity.

Other items, which could be a lot harder to get your hands on, include face masks of celebrities (particularly very newsworthy ones such as Megan Markle and Kim Kardashian), and one of the podiums used by the prime minster and his scientific advisors to make public announcements. Good luck with that…

“March 23rd 2020, the day the UK went into the first country-wide lockdown, marks a scary time in history,” said Will Thomas of LoveAntiques.com.

“This past year has been something that most of us, hopefully, will only endure once in our lifetime, and these tragedies will stay with us forever. We will have a thousand things that remind us of 2020, from home haircuts, to endless video calls and the Thursday clap for heroes, but we will also have the physical items that will remind us and signify a historical moment. In the day of mass production and technology, the interest in one-of-a-kind items have increased and people are looking for unique items that haven’t been copied a million times, this emphasises the physical items of the pandemic we expect will be valuable in the years to come.”

It could also be worth looking on Gumtree, eBay or local Facebook marketplaces to see whether anyone is getting rid of pandemic-related items – with most of us still suffering from lockdown fatigue at the moment, and keen to look to the future, now could be a good time to buy.

A quick browse of eBay reveals that a signed first edition of Captain’s Moore’s book, Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day, Hand Signed First Edition, is selling for £350. While there is no guarantee how much the signed book will increase in value, history shows that first editions of books associated with a major event are a good investment.

If you do snap up a copy, and feel a bit guilty about profiteering from Captain Tom’s noble example, you could of course donate the proceeds to his charity or the British Legion. Also, be very careful of fakes – there are no guarantees that the signature in the book is genuine, but you can certainly ask the seller about the provenance or politely seek more evidence of authenticity.

As for original NHS rainbow posters, the valuable posters are likely to be the official NHS ones that were circulated for people to download/colour in. If you didn’t get one at the time it might be worth asking a friend or relative or even a local doctor’s surgery, but be tactful.

LoveAntiques.com has also shared some suggestions to keep potential valuable items intact, which in turn will increase the value as a collectible item. It’s important to store any products in dry, cool places without risk of water damage, or colour fading from direct sunlight.

The area they are stored in should be a consistent temperature, especially not too humid. It is a good idea to invest in waterproof cases for valuables; not only will this provide an extra layer of protection it will ward off dust and lessen the chance of mis-shapen items.

Geoff Harris

I am a journalist and photographer and currently work as the Deputy Editor of Amateur Photographer (AP) the oldest weekly photographic magazine in the world. Before that I served as the editor of Digital Camera, Britain's best-selling photography magazine, for five years. During my time as editor it became the UK's top selling photo monthly and won Print Publication of the Year at the 2013 British Media Awards. As well as being lucky enough to get paid to write about photography, I've been fortunate to interview some of the greatest photographers in the world, including Elliott Erwitt, Don McCullin, Martin Parr, Terry O'Neill and Steve McCurry. This has been a wonderful learning experience and very influential on my photography. Beyond writing, I am a professional portrait, travel and documentary photographer, and reached the finals of the 2016 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I am a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and hope to take my Associateship whenever I can find the time. In addition I write about well being/personal development and antiques collecting for a range of other titles, including BlueWings, the in-flight magazine of Finn Air.

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