A New Haven goldsmith is recalling his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a metal piece for Queen Elizabeth during her visit to New Haven back in the 70s.
"Taken aback by it but I'm obviously very honored to have been chosen to do that," goldsmith Derek Simpson said.
It was back in 1976, when Simpson would be tasked with creating a presentation gift for Queen Elizabeth during her visit to New Haven for the city’s bicentennial year. The suggestion by the city leaders - a pillbox for the Queen.
"The stipulation was that on the lid would be a representation of the nine squares of New Haven, and so I prepared sketches and they approved them and then I went about making it," Simpson said.
He still has the original sketch of the pillbox, which took him about a week to make, admitting the assignment was a bit intimidating.
"I wasn't sure what her aesthetic was obviously she's probably been in on the throne for so long and bedecked with jewels and all sorts of precious gifts from around the world," Simpson said.
While Simpson wasn’t part of the presentation ceremony to the Queen, he says that she had expressed her gratitude to then New Haven mayor Frank Logue about her experience in the Elm City.
And all these years later, he can’t help but wonder where the pillbox ended up.
"I hope, it wasn't gathering dust in some vault, you know," Simpson said.
Still, Simpson cherishes his opportunity to create for the Queen, a piece fit for royalty.
"Of course, you know, it always helps on my resume," he said, laughing.
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