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Dust Off Your Charles and Di Commemorative Plate And Sell, Sell, Sell

March 1, 1996

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Royal Divorce won’t mean a Royal Windfall to most Charles and Di watchers, but it could mean a few more dollars in your pocket if you have some old trinkets commemorating The Royal Wedding.

``Any publicity is good publicity,″ said George Darrow, owner of Darrow’s Fun Antiques in New York. ``As interest re-enters the public mind then the interest in collecting the stuff comes back ... so the prices go up too.″

Victor Weiner, executive director of the Appraisers Association of America, predicted a ``modest escalation″ in prices.

But he and others don’t expect anyone to get rich selling the plates, mugs, matchbooks and other mass-produced wares that marked the 1981 fairy tale marriage.

He said the number of items on the market and their less-than-kingly quality will keep prices from rising too high. ``And I haven’t seen any jewel-encrusted scepters with their faces on it,″ he joked.

Tom Tumbusch of Dayton, Ohio, who publishes ``Tomart’s Price Guide to Garage Sale Gold,″ suggested would-be collectors look for something ``unique and wrong.″

For instance: a copy of a magazine that had gone to press and had to be recalled because Diana agreed Wednesday to a divorce; a long-term calendar that anticipated Diana would become queen of England, ``Then you’ll find something that’s worth money,″ he said.

At Love Saves the Day, a store of kitsch and collectables in Manhattan, a 12 1/2-inch doll of Prince Charles in uniform sells for $39. A 16-inch doll of Di in a gown goes for $65.

But manager Larry Carter said Charles and Diana items aren’t big sellers and he doesn’t expect they will be.

``I really can’t see the divorce affecting the market like a death would,″ he said.

Chris Scharfman, manager of Chic A Boom in Los Angeles, doubts Chuck and Di will ever become truly hot collectables.

For one thing, there is no mystic around the former royal-couple the way there was around Jacqueline Kennedy.

``Maybe it’s tabloid journalism _ we know everything about them. There’s no mystery whatsoever,″ she said. ``I think in this day and age, we have a tendency to just laud them, chew them up and spit them out.″

In addition, said Scharfman, the prince and princess lack the ingredient needed to make TV and personality memorabilia popular _ humor.

``The thing about Charles and Di is there’s nothing funny about them,″ she said. ``But there’s something funny about `Charlie’s Angels’ and `Starsky and Hutch.‴

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