How to identify London Olympics and Royal Diamond Jubilee memorabilia

With the London Olympics and the Royal Diamond Jubilee around the corner, 2012 is a big year for UK commemorative memorabilia.

Carbooted got in touch with the people who make it for tips on identifying the real deal. Read on if you don’t fancy getting sold a rip off down the car boot.

Look out for the identifying stamps on official Jubilee memorabilia.
(Image courtesy of Royal Collection © 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.)

Royal Jubilee collectibles

An official range of china has been commissioned by the Royal Collection to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. Tea caddys and tea towels are at the cheaper end of the range where as a Diamond Jubilee cake stand will set you back almost £400.

Emma Shaw from the Royal Collection said that all official Diamond Jubilee china is easily identified.

“ All pieces of Diamond Jubilee china have the Royal Collection stamp on their base if they are a limited-edition piece they are numbered too. They also have the Made in England back stamp on their base.”

London Olympics 2012 memorabilia

The range of official Olympics merchandise is as widespread as the range of sports the games include. There are key rings, flags, binoculars and books as well as reworked versions of traditional board games like Monopoly. There are also higher end lines of fine jewellery and silverware available as part of a collaboration with Links.

Lloyd Evans from London 2012 said: “If a product is genuine London 2012 Games merchandise it will feature a numbered holographic version of the official London 2012 logo as part of the packaging or labelling.”

Kate Lloyd


Poll: Who would you rather car boot with, Boris or Ken?

As we await the results of the London Mayoral Election, the Mail on Sunday have conducted a unique poll of their own asking, among other things, ‘Who would get the best car boot sale bargain?’

Surprisingly, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls came out on top with 26 per cent of the vote – no doubt his reputation as an ‘attack dog’ would help him hold his own out there in the tough world of car boot negotiations.

Unsurprisingly, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came last with a mere seven per cent of the vote – but with today’s results across the country, this poll may be the least of the Lib Dem leader’s worries.

What do you think? Take part in our special London-based poll and let us know: who you would rather have on your car boot team?

Sophie Tighe


The Apprentice goes to the car boot

On BBC One’s The Apprentice, the task this week was to buy second hand furniture and sell it in Brick Lane. Or as one succinct young hopeful put it: “get as much crap as we can and sell it for next to nothing.”

Carbooted regulars will not need to be told that car boots are a haven for anyone looking for vintage and collectible furniture. So surely, only a bunch of idiots could fail to find anything worth buying?

“Here we are – an enormous car boot sale full of everything you can imagine,” says Alan Sugar’s aide, Nick Hewer, following one team around a car boot sale as they hunt out bargains. All the contestants have to do is pick up some choice pieces and take them Brick Lane “home to the young trendy with the gelled hair,” says Hewer.

But soon Hewer is despairing of their inability to choose anything at all.  “They’ve only bought a few items – it’s nuts!” he says.

Later on Jade Adam and Steven are seen storming round the Battersea Boot having a bit more luck. They deliberate over one item for so long that the stall holder shouts in desperation, “have it for a pound as long as you promise you’ll go away.”

For tips on what goes down well at the car boot from someone who knows what they’re talking about, watch this video.

Tom Allsop


Our favourite free entry car boot sales

Love of a bargain is what draws us all to the world of al fresco second-hand shopping but some of the entry fees for car boot sales across London can be a little pricey. Carbooted have compiled a list of free entry sales for those weekends when we’re watching the pennies.

Holloway car boot

Holloway

Sat (from 8am) and Sun (from 10am)

Holloway Road, N7 (opposite the Odeon cinema)

Nearest tube: Holloway Road

Entry: Free

If you find yourself in north London this weekend, head for the Holloway car boot on Holloway Road. Seasoned sellers and novice carbooters make for an interesting mix of goods on offer, from DVDs to dining room tables. Bring your sharpest elbows and be prepared for a good old rummage.

Hounslow West

Sat (7am to 2.30pm)

Bath Road, TW3

Nearest tube: Hounslow West

Entry: Free

If you’re westward (ho!) why not look in on Hounslow West car boot sale on Bath Road. Perfect for early risers, this Saturday only sale opens to punters at 7am so don’t forget the thermos full of coffee.

Peckham

Sun (6am to 1pm)

Clayton Road, SE15

Nearest tube: Peckham Rye (Overground)

Entry: Free

If saaf of the river is more your style, then Peckham car boot is the place for you. This sale is seasonal and runs every Sunday from March through to October but seeing as this is England, that doesn’t guarantee good weather. Bring a brolly.

Sophie Tighe


The cost of carbooting: sellers’ pitch fees across London

In the first of two posts exploring the variation in entrance fees at car boots across London, we look at the pitch fees for sellers.

Our map shows that the cost of getting a pitch at a car boot sale in London ranges dramatically from free entry to £15.

Seven of the city’s car boot sales have £10 pitch fees for sellers, but six of them allow sellers to enter for free.

Car boots with similarly priced pitches tend come in clusters as car boot organisers adapt in order to grab visitors from their neighbours.

This is as far as geography affects the price of pitches. It is probably likely that the huge variation in pitch fee is more down to the car boot organisers trying to attract a certain type of seller.

Experienced and upmarket sellers are probably more likely to pay higher fees where as free pitches are better suited to inexperienced sellers who are unsure about how much money they will make.

Statistics from the Boot Fair directory

Kate Lloyd and Tom Allsop


Carbooting: opening times of car boot sales across London and what they mean for you

Our map shows that London car boot sales don’t open earlier than 7am. But, if you like your lie-ins, you can still have a few extra hours in bed and attend a car boot, with lunchtime openings across the city.

Some sales might also have a rule that sellers cannot leave the site before a certain time.

The earlier the sale begins, the more hardcore your bargain hunters tend to be. They will be looking for collectibles, such as ceramics and glassware, and will want low, competitive prices. Your buyers might even be professional traders, looking for items to ‘upsell’ for their own profits.

Sales that start mid-morning or later are more likely to attract passers-by or the more casual browser, looking for inspiration and to be pleasantly surprised. These sales would be perfect for trying to get good prices for your stylish clothing.

If you take food to sell, target your audience’s appetites: you’ll probably find that sugary cupcakes aren’t too popular at 7am. For early mornings, try savoury items such as pasties and sausage rolls, or even a bowl of fresh fruit. We’ve spotted at least one enterprising stallholder selling individually-wrapped slices of cold pizza – perfect for staving off a tired head after a late night.

As for the aforementioned cupcakes: they’re becoming near-ubiquitous among younger sellers at car boot sales. They look pretty, but you’ll need to be a decorating whiz to make yours stand out. You could try food colouring in your icing, or edible cake toppers. You could also cater to the more traditional cake lover with nice thick slabs of versatile loaf cake, in whatever flavours you prefer.

Still, no matter the time you turn up, an important factor in the success of your day will always be the weather. Soggy car boot sales tend to be quieter car boot sales. You might feel it’s not worth turning out on a rainy day to sell, and if you’re a buyer this could be the opportunity to get lower prices from sellers eager to get home.

Helen Lawson


The cost of carbooting: buyers’ entrance fees across London

In the second of two posts exploring the variation in entrance fees at car boots across London, we look at entrance fees for buyers.

Map showing how entrance fees vary across London

Our map shows that the cost of entrance for buyers in London is usually no more than £1.

12 of the city’s car boot sales are free for buyers to enter, with a further eight costing only 50 pence.

This is significantly cheaper than the average entry fee for sellers. Perhaps car boot organisers are encouraging sellers to pay high pitch fees by luring in lots of buyers.

This is a reflection of the times. With the country in recession people are more likely to want to make money as a seller than  spend it as a buyer.

Where as in central London there is a lot of variation between buyer entrance prices, the car boots charging an entrance fee of 50 pence are mainly grouped together in West London, with the free car boots grouped closely together in East London. The car boot organisers are adapting to take on their competition, knowing that buyers will go to their cheaper direct competitors.

In such areas, getting rid of entrance fees for buyers may mean higher overall profits. This is because car boot sales which only charge 50 pence per buyer can only make £50 per 100 buyers.

Statistics from the Boot Fair directory

Kate Lloyd and Tom Allsop