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Speaking of unusual hobbies, a woman in Belgium has collected nearly 57 thousand vintage tin boxes. Among the rare finds - a coin box for Hitler’s Luftwaffe, a box from Spain depicting Mickey Mouse, and one of the British royal family from more than a century ago.
This collection reads like a Who’s Who of history.
Immortalised in tin are King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Another British royal, George V, stares out from a colourful box , surrounded by the words "Our Sailor King".
These dignitaries are among Yvette Dardenne’s impressive collection of vintage tin boxes. There are 56,800 altogether, each lovingly displayed in a corner of Grand Hallet in Belgium.
The 56,800 tin boxes represent an average of seven new boxes collected each day for the
"I have several boxes of the British royal family, of the Dutch royal family, I have a few of the Tsar, so the box designs are not just things to do with Belgium. But Belgian chocolate and biscuit manufacturers like to reproduce all royal families." Yvette Dardenne, Tin box collecor said.
Among the royals: the new Belgian King Philippe and his family. At the other end of the spectrum is the old Dutch Queen Wilhelmina. She reigned over the Netherlands for 58 years.
And this is just a sample of how many boxes Dardenn has. The others are displayed in five different buildings on her farm. But Yvette is keen for others to share in her passion and visit her makeshift exhibition.
"I wanted to be able to see my boxes, because you have some collectors who put everything in a drawer and display nothing. Well I am the opposite, I like to share, and I think that it comes to life through people’s eyes. So with the help of my husband I asked to renovate the buildings, in order to be able to see boxes in front, behind, on the left, on the right, on the top and on the bottom, so that we swim in the boxes". Yvette Dardenne said.
This 75-year-old tin box fanatic started her collection 22 years ago. It began when she was looking at old family photographs stored in an old tin box with an aunt. The aunt noticed that Yvette really liked the box and offered it to her. From then on, a hobby and a passion for collecting was born.
The 56,800 tin boxes represent an average of seven new boxes collected each day for the past two decades.
And the collection is set to grow - even though space is limited. Yvette will continue to buy vintage tin boxes, but she is hoping a museum might one day take up the collection.
In the meantime, if you want to see this amazing private collection, you must arrange a private visit - entrance fee is 50 euros.
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