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(from left) Susan and Robert Fratkin of Washington DC with their friend, Abbe Shaw from Santa Barbara County, US, examining commemorative Queen Victoria pot lids.

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Robert Fratkin and his wife Susan, from Washington DC, are serious collectors of Queen Victoria memorabilia – “we’re thinking of putting bunk beds in our main bedroom to make room for a fifth cabinet of objects,” says Susan – and visit UK fairs, whatever the weather.

“There’s nothing else like Newark,” Robert says, acknowledging that there are fewer dealers at the December fair. “It’s still a very large fair where people speak English, which is helpful. We come twice a year for two weeks and Newark is the one constant.”

The Fratkins collect objects – badges, ceramics, sewing kits in particular – commemorating events from Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1837 to her death in 1901.

Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy online? “We do buy online but here, we find other related things,” says Susan.

“We now have a watering can stamped as a Queen Victoria household item.”

Robert adds: “Dealers know us but you can still take advantage of knowledge in a collecting area. I have found quite a few major things here that were inexpensive.”