It is always astounding to read of unlikely objects being sold at auction for surprisingly high prices. Since the birth of e-bay of course the sales and the prices have become even crazier.
Queen Vic’s Knicks Fetch A Tidy Sum
It is surprising what some people will buy, though less so since the advent of e-bay revealed a global demand for totally useless dross perhaps. For example, once upon a time the only people who would pay good money for previously owned items of ladies underwear were those leery types who wear dirty raincoats, the sort of man who in pre school-run days used to hang around the bike shed in the girls play yard hoping to cop a sniff at the bicycle seats when nobody was looking.
In those days a low level trade in what were sold (without provenance) as panties worn by prostitutes was conducted through the small ads in "Gentlemen’s Magazines."
It was all very sleazy and pervy in those days, and rightly so you may think. Such activities should remain in the closet, preferably in a tightly closed laundry basket. Thanks to e-bay though a thriving cottage industry has grown up in slightly worn knickers. Marilyn Monroe’s frillies do very well at auction with some justification. Not only was she the world’s foremost sex symbol, according to some biographers she was none too fussy about personal hygiene. Unless I am very much mistaken about the nature of this fetish that ought to boost the value considerably for the seriously deviant collector of movie memorabilia.
Based on available evidence Marylin was quite fastidious about changing her underwear. Given the sheer numbers of her guzzies that have come onto the market it’s a wonder she had any time to appear in films or pose for photographs.
Perhaps Marilyn was like the early Christian saints whose finger bones multiplied exponentially during the centuries when people would pay serious money for a holy relic. According to documented transactions Saint Augustine had twenty five small fingers on his right hand while Jesus himself had over a hundred foreskins several of which still exist.
Thus it is with Marilyn’s panties. They just keep appearing like flags from a Magician’s sleeve.
The real prize in the world of antique undies collectors though are Queen Victoria’s bloomers. At a recent auction held by Hanson’s of Derby a pair of the old Queen’s underwear, elaborately embroidered with the "V.R." (Victoria Regina) monogram were knocked down to a Canadian buyer for £4,500 or almost nine thousand U.S. dollars. That’s almost as much as it costs to fill an SUV with gas.
The family that put Queen Vic’s Knicks in the auction said they were a gift to an ancestor who had been a servant at one of the Royal residences. Apparently the Monarch often gave he old underpants as gifts. Just imagine the scene as she presented her gift to a departing servant or Lady – In – Waiting, speaking in her most imperious Royal voice.
"We are saddened by your leaving Mary but in recognition of your years of loyal service we are pleased to present you with a pair of our old trolleys. Erm … they could do with a wash."
Grammar police will have spotted a plural pronoun from a person speaking in the singular. This is the "Royal We" used by Monarchs in their capacity as ruler and embodiment of the three estates of the nation. It should not be confused with the royal wee that was staining the gusset of the Monarch’s gift. Still, if one valued one’s life it was best not to mention such things.
Antique linen has become quite valuable and sought after now and there is certainly plenty of antique linen in a pair of Victoria’s knickers. The set sold by Hanson’s have a fifty inch waistband. As The Queen stood less than five feet tall she could truly claim to be a global figure. It would certainly not be appropriate to refer to her undies as her "smalls."
Having said that, the price Hanson’s obtained for the item auctioned was astounding. We can only wonder if, perhaps, their value was enhanced by the presence of a Royal skidmark.