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Royal Memorabilia For Sale

They say all that glitters is not gold, but in Diana's case that is not true.

Increasingly, anything to do with the late princess is bringing in lots of cash.

A ring, for example, was given to Diana by Charles and worn by her at a polo match, when they were still in love. She gave it up for charity and it is now available on the Internet for $150,000.

CBS News' Tom Fenton reports it is just part of the lucrative trade in personal items associated with the Royal family. It is a trade that has been thrown into the spotlight by the collapsed trial of Diana's former butler, Paul Burrell. Royal servants are given gifts worth a lot, according to Royal and Regal Memorabilia dealer Peter Smith.

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"Certain employees would get Christmas cards from Charles and Diana, so when they've finished service with Charles and Diana they would have 30 or 40 Christmas cards, which quite a lot," says Smith. "It's not until they get elderly that they realize that the cards that they have tucked away in the back of a drawer could be worth $70,000 or $80,000.

The trade in these items is part of an internal Palace inquiry — due to report before Christmas — that will examine a host of questions about Palace practices. The inquiry will look into the collapse of the Burrell trial and financial dealings inside Prince Charles' St. James Palace.

Smith recently sold a wallet given to a gardener by Prince Charles for $400. Also for sale through Smith, is a garden bench with Charles and Diana's initials inscribed in the back, given to a staff member of Prince Charles. It could be yours for just under $20,000.

It may be surprising who buy most of the Royals' items. Smith says America is the biggest market and he thinks they appreciate the British Royal family more than the British do. "That's a terribly thing to say, but I've got a lot of American customers and they love the royal family," says Smith.

There have been unusual items on the market as well, such as a lock of Diana's hair. An American collector even claimed that she was offered Diana's fingernail clippings for sale — an offer that dealer Peter Smith questions.

"How on earth would you establish that they were really her nail clippings? I would think you'd have to be a little bit peculiar to want them, but then there are people who collect Queen Victoria's underwear, so its not just today that people have unusual collections," says Smith.

The fallout from the Burrell trial has shredded much of the remaining mystique surrounding the royal family. But, support for the royals is still strong and shops such as the Hope and Glory Shop in London are thriving selling commemorative souvenirs. A poll here last week showed that three quarters of the British want to keep the monarchy.

Some critics point out that what all this really reveals is how poorly the servants who work for the Royal family are paid. For years, they have been augmenting their incomes with this practice of selling royal memorabilia and castoffs.

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