Emperor Hirohito’s gold cufflinks expected to fetch £1200 at auction

A PAIR of cufflinks given by the Japanese Second World War head of state Emperor Hirohito to his Scottish chauffeur is to be sold at auction in the Capital next month.

The 18-carat gold chrysanthemum-styled cufflinks were given to driver Alec Irvine in 1921 by the then Crown Prince of Japan, on his historic six-month tour of the UK and Europe.

The visit, five years before the Crown Prince became Emperor in 1926, was the first time that a member of the Imperial family had ever travelled overseas. They are expected to sell for about £1200 at Bonhams, in Queen Street, on December 13.

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Clare Blatherwick, head of jewellery and silver at Bonhams, said: “They appear to have been barely, if ever, worn. They look untouched. They are extremely elegant and very rare – I’ve never seen a record of any other sold.

“There will be wide appeal not only among collectors of jewellery but also those with an interest in history and this remarkable story. I would expect interest from Japan as well as Scotland.”