Cruise ship superfan has splashed out £5,000 on collection of P&O memorabilia

A cruise ship superfan has collected one of the world’s biggest private collections of vintage P&O memorabilia – splashing out more than £5k on over 2,000 items.

Edgar Cross, 31, began buying branded items following the death of his foster dad in 2018 and now he has amassed thousands of vintage P&O items – including a captain's uniform he bought for just £15.

The collector is looking forward to going on a cruise for the first time in nearly two decades – on Aurora – next year, as boats make him think of happier times with his foster parents.

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Edgar, from St Ives, said: “I started collecting about four years ago when my foster dad passed away in 2018.

"The last cruise I went on with my foster mum and dad was in 2004.

“I started collecting things while I was depressed to remind me of the great times on P&O cruises.

“I love P&O, I think they're great company. I just love cruises and I've got a big collection of over 2,000 items.”

Edgar, who has autism, started his collection when he picked up menus from the two P&O cruises he’d been on – one to Spain in 2000 and another to New York in 2004.

And, following his foster father’s death, Edgar realised he had fond memories of their time on cruise ships together and began to seek out vintage items.

Using eBay, his collection started to grow.

Edgar funds his collection by buying and selling the antique wares, sometimes visiting auctions to flog his unique finds.

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He says he keeps items in a display cabinet and once a month rotates what is on display by swapping out items.

The items date from the 2000s all the way back to the 1890s, with the oldest item being magic lantern slides showing people on the deck of the ship.

The collection also includes ashtrays, cutlery, silverware, playing cards, photographs and a cigarette dispenser.

Edgar said: “I’ve probably spent about £5,000 over four years. It started with P&O Aurora menus from 2000, which was the first cruise I went on, and 2004."

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“Then it started going to silverware, cutlery, old ashtrays, playing cards from the 1920s, pictures and postcards of the old smoking rooms and gambling rooms, ice buckets, even soaps and unused matchbooks."

Edgar has splashed out on bundles in the past, with his most expensive transaction costing about £1,000.

However, his favourite item was a bargain at just £15.

He said: “My favourite item is a P&O captain’s suit, it’s very nice and cost me £15.

"The person on eBay put the wrong size and no one was interested so I thought, ‘That must be wrong’ and bought it.

“It fits perfectly and came with trousers, a tuxedo and jacket, and P&O staff badges. I'll be wearing it for dinners on the cruise next year."

He explained his love of cruise ships as he said: “I like the feeling of being on a boat and the freedom, meeting new people. It really makes me happy being on cruise ships as your free to do what you want.

“I get judged quite a lot for having autism and when I’m on a boat no one judges me.

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“If I didn’t have autism I wouldn’t collect this stuff, I’d be a boring adult – I'm intelligent, respectful, I don’t judge people and I like preserving history and saving this stuff from dumpsters.

“I’ll collect until the day I die, definitely, it makes me feel happy and glad I can get it.”

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