Many venues that I like to visit will come with the ubiquitous café and shop – sometimes very fancy and posh, sometimes quite acceptable, often overpriced.

Going into the shop, people seem delighted to buy a generic bar of chocolate or toffee simply because the wrapper screams “I was here” about the location. The same wrapper they will throw in the bin when they eat the contents. Baffling.

I however collect cups, or mugs if you prefer – each with a logo of the offending location.

Not because I have a particular thing for cups or china in general, but because I learnt something a long time ago about tourist shops. They almost always have branded cups for sale.

You’ll rarely find tea towels at an industrial heritage site, model trains at a stately home or jigsaws at a science venue – but they will all sell cups.

The branded cup is the secret language that almost all tourist venues share, and even non-tourist venues might dig out some cups from the canteen supply and try to sell some if they are expecting visitors.

I am able to build up a collection of tourist tat that shares a commonality in shape and design that sits comfortably on shelves.

So I collect cups.

I have a posh cup from Buckingham Palace, a canteen cup from a bus garage, a navy blue cup from an aircraft carrier. I have loads cups, each reminding me of memories past.

I also have other cups, plain unadorned cups – cups for drinking from and can be put in a dishwasher without the decoration being stripped away. Tourist cups may be expensive, but they are rarely dishwasher safe.

Oh, and I have a teddy-bear, but that was a present from a museum’s press office.

Some cups


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  1. M@ says:

    Wow, even a Kirkaldy Testing Museum mug. That’s impressive.
    You should pop round Londonist Towers, we have an HMP Wandsworth mug for some reason.

  2. Anna says:

    That’s a nice collection. I collect pencils from places I visit, but not everywhere is guaranteed to sell them. They’re cheap and delightful though, and don’t take up much space. I’m not generally a collector sort of person (well actually I have a nice collection of bookmarks too now that I think of it) but I’m very fond of my pencil collection, it’s a nice reminder of places I’ve been, especially when I think that I may not be here for much longer.

  3. Richard says:

    I too tend to choose mugs as souvenirs/memorabilia. One of my recent purchases was from a London 2012 memorabilia shop – it was the only item I found that I thought was worth buying.

  4. Clive says:

    Hi i have an used Milwards Shoes beige anniversary beige mug from about 1990, could you say if its worth anything.


3 Pings/Trackbacks for "Collecting cups"
  1. […] A small gift shop also allowed me to add to my collection of collectable mugs. […]

  2. […] and I added a commemorative cup to my collection from the inevitable gift shop at […]

  3. […] Oh, and I picked up a special Imberbus branded cup to add to my collection. […]

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