Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Yesterday I ran across an article that I didn't bookmark and now can't find again. I hate it when that happens. The article was about the five least-valuable collectible items that people buy in the mistaken belief that they will grow in value and prove a good long-term investment. The list included kitschy Hummel figurines, collectible plates (of which we have gazillions), and just about anything produced by The Franklin Mint.

Most of us have some sort of collection. As children, and later as adults, we take interest in particular things to the extent that we want to amass collections of them. As we get older, some of the things we collect are gathered in the hope that they will ultimately be valuable ... unfortunately, most of the stuff we collect ends up being pretty much useless except for the joy we get in the simple fact of owning it.

Here are some of the things I've collected over the years:

1. Dust. Oops ... sorry about that ... that would have been Agnes's opinion.

2. Coins. I collected these in grade school and into high school, until I realized that my chances of amassing a coin collection worth more than its face value was just about zero. I learned this the day I had my pride-and-joy 1898 silver dollar appraised and found it was worth exactly $1.00. I eventually spent the collection.

3. Stamps. I enjoyed collecting interesting and colorful stamps. My paternal grandmother, who worked as a cleaning lady at a bank, used to gather up all the stamped envelopes when she emptied the trash and proudly deliver them to me when we visited. I lost interest in collecting stamps and gave the collection away long ago, although I do enjoy seeing the colorful stamps on letters I receive...courtesy of Amanda, I have some beautiful stamps from Indonesia and Australia.

4. Railroad Lanterns. At one time I had a very impressive collection of colorful metal-and-glass oil-fired railroad lanterns. They were interesting and attractive, and the pinnacle of the collection was a lantern I found at a flea market in Germany that apparently originated in China (based on the embossed lettering). I stopped collecting the lanterns when the collection grew too fragile and cumbersome to ship in my frequent military moves, and took up too much space to display.

5. David Winter Cottages. I have a very large collection of these, some of which are quite beautiful and one or two of which are actually worth a small amount of money. I have several that I waited in line for hours one Saturday in Germany to have autographed by David Winter himself.

6. Pictures of People Taking Pictures. I love photography and take thousands of pictures when we travel. My grandchildren's tans are largely caused by camera flashes. One of the subjects I like to photograph is other people in the act of taking pictures...I have an enormous collection of such pictures. One of these days I'll meet up with Andrea and we can take pictures of each other as we take pictures of each other.

7. Books. Agnes and I have thousands of books. Lately, I don't buy too many fiction's cheaper to use the library. There are a few fiction authors I'll spend money on (Bernard Cornwell, Rennie Airth, Allan Furst, and the Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child collaborations), but mostly I just buy books about history, current events, and social science.

So, what do you collect, and why?

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Mike said...

2. coins - I started when I was a kid and my dad took over the collection. Since he worked in a bank he had access. He once took three quarters to the coin dealer and got $75. He keep the good ones.

3. stamps - all in a big box waiting to be organized.

8. tools - not old ones. New ones that I'm sure I'll need some day.

Amanda said...

Right now : I'm collecting all the little keepsakes from Aaron and Adrian. I have their dried up umbilical cords, their first hair cuts, drawings etc....not worth any money but I think I'm investing in my old age. One day I'll look back and remember them as babies.

Something else that isn't worth money : I used to collect miniature bottles of perfumes. I have about 60 of them but when I stopped working and traveling, I stopped buying them too.

Raquel's World said...

DOLPHINS- No, not real ones but glass ones. Worthless, but pretty nonetheless.

Bandit said...

I'm not big on collecting things. I have a friend whose Dad collects the toys that come in a Happy Meal. He started when they first came out (in the 60's?) and has all of them in the original wrapper. Don't ask me why.

KathyA said...

I'm not a big fan of clutter - so none of these 'collections' are substantial. And why do I collect this stuff? Can't answer that one.
1. Books, of course.
2. Sea shells.
3. Used to collect depression glass and crystal and still have some crystal, but the depression glass is gone. Suicide?
4. Rocks from places we've visited.

Ken said...

I have a 26" tall Dietz Imperial Square Lamp No3. It's 13" by 13" by 26 tall. The rear reflector is missing but all the rest is there. A hole in the tank to convert to electricity but I pulled all that out. Interested at all?
I was going to put it on E-Bay.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

The Franklin Mint do issue a lot!

allenwoodhaven said...

When I was a teenager (the 70's), I collected (and read) Marvel comic books. I still have them, neatly in their plastic bags. I'm hoping to fund my retirement, but that's unlikely. When I do retire, will anyone really want them (for big bucks)? A few have greatly increased though, according to the price guides.

For years I've collected some coins. Specificly, I've saved coins that are older than I am. I check my change periodicly and set those aside. I'm sure they aren't worth more than face value, but I plan to give them to a nephew who can pass them on to his kid/niece/nephew and on and on until they are worth more. I figure this gives him a generational head start.

It's only Wednesday, but I'm looking forward to Cartoon Saturday!