Do you have any collections?
October 13, 2004 11:24 AM   Subscribe

Do you have any collections?

I have nearly 2000 postcards, all well displayed either on the giant wall of cork in my office or in albums. Some were purchased, the majority were sent to me by friends and familiy around the world, which, IMO, makes them doubly special. My sister suggested recently that it's weird to collect something so "insignificant." She likened it to a little kid picking up bottlecaps.

I've protested that a lot of people collect a lot of things, and postcards are hardly the strangest thing to amass, nor does their relative lack of monetary value have any significant impact upon their collectible value.

Am I off the wall (unlike my postcards)? Do you collect anything? Do you think that collections need to be of something meaningful or historical or pricey in order to be true collections rather than just some weird hoarding thing?
posted by Dreama to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (41 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I used to collect cigarette packs. I had neither the funds nore inclination to look for genuine antiques, but I did try to buy packs of the most unusual and exotic brands I could find. I've still got them in the closet; for a while they were mounted in a grid on my wall, which looked much cooler than it sounds.

Sounds like your sister lacks whimsy.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:35 AM on October 13, 2004

No, postcards aren't weird at all! I collect the wee toys you get in Kinder Surprise (or the Japanese counterpart with the hyper-articulated insects.) Plus lots and lots of yarn.

I think that whatever anyone collects has value in a personal folklore kind of way. (But then, I've always been a fan of the personal versus the widespread.)
posted by sugarfish at 11:36 AM on October 13, 2004

My Mom is a postcard collector. I have a worthless but fascinating coin collection. My sister collects Camel cigarette memorabilia. As long as you're not kidding yourself that your current postcard investment is going to become your retirement fund, I don't see it as weird at all. Then again, I also have a small collection of bottlecaps....
posted by jessamyn at 11:43 AM on October 13, 2004

As long as you're not spending more on the collection than you can afford (ie, as long as nobody's going hungry, naked or homeless because you just *had* to buy another post card,) I think it's perfectly normal. I collect Homicide Unit t-shirts from different law enforcement districts, myself. I only have 12 of them, but I'm always looking for more!
posted by headspace at 11:45 AM on October 13, 2004

i have souvenier pennies from all over america (how sad was i not to find an equivalent in europe--perhaps i just looked i the wrong places?). i have one from the maryland tollway, the sixth floor museum, and the newest is of the SR-71 from the udvar-hazy (this last is my favorite because when i was younger, my dad took me to see the SR71 land and i got to look in the cockpit)

i also have nearly every boarding pass from the last ten years (at a minimum of six flights a year, that's a lot of worthless paper). friend of mine has every movie ticket stub since 1986. so, weird? no, i don't think so.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:52 AM on October 13, 2004

Semi-related: I loved the scene in "Throw Mama from the Train" where Danny Devito shows Billy Crystal his coin collection. It was basically a handful of pocket change, so you're thinking "what a dumb coin collection." Then Danny explains the significance of each coin and you think "I'm an ass."
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:53 AM on October 13, 2004

I collect everything, much to my wife's chagrin.

When we moved recently, she forced me to sit down and sort things with her. "Do you really need these twenty year old birthday cards?"

Of course, your question isn't really about packratism so much as about collecting.

Collecting is perfectly normal, especially if the collection holds some emotional value. I have friends who variously collect Nancy Drew books, antique silver, ancient coins, U2 CDs and records, cow things, comic books, cat photos (yes, really), old computers, and lots more.

If you enjoy it, and it isn't hurting anyone, then do it! Collect away!
posted by jdroth at 11:54 AM on October 13, 2004

I collect maps. I find them fascinating. My favorites are a map of Wales from the 1860s and a 1980s Soviet military map of the New England coast.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:56 AM on October 13, 2004

I collect music. LP's and CD's mosty, but I also have a fairly large collection of cassette demo's from when I used to be a promoter in the 1990's.
posted by Quartermass at 12:14 PM on October 13, 2004

I used to collect cig packs too, but then I realised how much I smoked. So I stopped... collecting cig packs. ;) I eventually quit smoking (!) and now only collect empty Bic lighters, which are fun to display over the tops of doors and windows in various patterns.

I also keep all the insignificant receipts, movie tickets, etc from my relationship with my wife. I like picking up a movie ticket, reading the title and remembering that evening with my beloved.

Oh, and I keep all of my concert tickets. I need to scan them soon.
posted by terrapin at 12:21 PM on October 13, 2004

I forgot to mention the three things I actually collect.

I collect books of all shapes and sizes. I love books.

I collect compilations of old comic strips: Little Nemo, Flash Gordon, and the like.

I collect pre-1960s pop music, with a special fondness for music from before 1930. I collect it on record, on tape, on CD, or in mp3 format. I love the stuff.

I used to collect difficult-to-find baseball books.
posted by jdroth at 12:35 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect shot glasses, but only as tokens of places I've been to or had friends go to, and only bought on site. If I go touristing in a new city, I usually pick one or two up, and if I fly through new airpors, I'll get one there.

I like keeping them as a reminder of my travels.
posted by jammer at 12:37 PM on October 13, 2004

I did collect bunny stuff. Just basically anything with a bunny on it. But I decluttered and got rid of much of it.

Now I have a very small collection of small pink flamingoes (toothpick holder, figurine, fridge magnet, pics, etc.) plus two big ones that will go back up in the front yard as soon as the election is over.
posted by konolia at 12:59 PM on October 13, 2004

Manual typewriters, working or not, and the older the better.
posted by Dean King at 1:08 PM on October 13, 2004

Dust. I collect dust.

and tumors.
posted by jonmc at 1:14 PM on October 13, 2004

I've several Barrister type bookcases (glass front) of First Ed. near mint SF Books (many signed).

Don't have the space to actively collect many more, but once in a while I'll have the opportunity to add a book.

Yes, OF COURSE I've read them (carefully)
posted by DBAPaul at 1:25 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect two items that might be worth anything:

1. Souvenir ruby stained glass. It started from a wee pitcher that my great-grandmother picked up somewhere. It has her name (the same as my middle name) and the year (1908) on it. (Similar to the one pictured. Damn, eBay prices are much lower than antique stores. *makes mental note*)

2. Ohio Pottery, mostly Rookwood. (I only have four or five pieces. I'm really drooling over those in the link.)

I also keep all the cards that my husband gives me. I paste them into albums (hint: a good place for movie/concert/event memorabilia).

So, no, I don't believe you're off the wall. As long as it means something to you and isn't doing any harm, go for it.

(Dreama, if I had easy access to my stuff in storage, I'd round up my vintage postcard collection and send it on to you. Alas, it won't be available for a year or two.)
posted by deborah at 1:30 PM on October 13, 2004

Disentanglement puzzles, although my collection is pretty small—maybe 1/10 of what the guy in the second link has.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:34 PM on October 13, 2004

All collections are insignificant to those who don't collect. My wife indulges my various collections with a modicum of teasing.

I actually collected a lot of stuff as a kid, most of which I still have:
- tourist pennants: 100+ from my family trips as a kid, stuffed in my parents' attic somewhere
- Matchbox cars: 150 or so, which my nephew is going to receive this fall as a fun hand-me-down (same goes for my large batch of old Legos)
- comic books: around 1,000 from the 1980s, awaiting a worthwhile time to sell (which may not be for decades)
- old pennies: I long since stopped hunting, but they're still in an old piggy bank somewhere

As an adult, I've limited my collecting to ticket stubs and music, but mementos are important, and collections can be a lot of fun. More power to you.
posted by werty at 1:35 PM on October 13, 2004

posted by signal at 1:52 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect lies.
posted by angry modem at 1:53 PM on October 13, 2004

Skulls, graphic novels, and outdated computers.

I got rid of the taped-up glasses a long time ago, though.
posted by mwhybark at 1:54 PM on October 13, 2004

Postcards are an awesome thing to collect. They remind you of people or places or times.
posted by o2b at 1:56 PM on October 13, 2004

I collected all the Nancy Drew books through The Crooked Bannister. My mom started the collection for me as a sort of bribery, for being decently behaved at the dentist's through a course of painful treatments lasting most of my 8th and 9th year.

That collection is still somewhere in the States. Probably in my sister's voluminous house.
posted by Tholian at 1:56 PM on October 13, 2004

I still do theticket stub thing...I have a large metal box filled with them. Also, somewhere in my parents house is pages and pages of Jose Lind baseball cards (because in little league I played the same position that he did).
posted by mmascolino at 2:05 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect comic books, specifically Iron Man appearances.

My girlfriend collects cookbooks with the vast majority being books on pastry, baking etc.

We're both very easy to shop for during the holidays.
posted by Stynxno at 2:05 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect music, especially black metal CDs, and metal band patches. I've also got a collection of pins in my car - I get one every time I travel someplace, and add it to the collection. My favorite is probably the Hachiko/Shibuya Station pin.
posted by vorfeed at 2:08 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect children's books because I love kid lit. My mother decided I was going to collect nutcrackers and gives me one every Christmas. My father decided I was going to collect hourglasses and crafts them for me himself. I have no other collections, because I don't like having a lot of stuff around that I don't use and have to dust and take care of.
posted by orange swan at 2:28 PM on October 13, 2004

I have an "ugly shoe" collection. The rules are: they have to cost less than 15 bucks and they have to fit me so I can be silly with them every now and then. They're not actually ugly, really, but impractical and sort of drag-queeny, who-would-buy-those kind of styles which is a lot of fun for me since I am otherwise a very plain dresser.

I have things I "collect", but none of it is serious or antique or expensive. Miniature books, cookbooks (mostly vegetarian), lunchboxes, Koosh balls, stationary, games (fun board, card, NES and Atari stuff).... just regular books too I guess; I really enjoy having books. I like picking up little souvenir things when I travel, like shot glasses, postcards, or fridge magnets.

To me, a collection is for amusement. If it were expensive, required me to search for things to complete them, if I couldn't get rid of it if I felt like it - then I would be uncomfortable. If it were irreplaceable stuff - I wouldn't enjoy it. I did keep ticket stubs and things like that for a while, until I realized it was more just piles of paper than memories to me, and I tossed them out.
posted by Melinika at 2:30 PM on October 13, 2004

Counties. (though these guys have me beat)
posted by PrinceValium at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2004

Ticket stubs and single playing cards found on the street.
posted by hootch at 3:18 PM on October 13, 2004

little cow things--creamers, etc--lined up above my sink : >
posted by amberglow at 3:45 PM on October 13, 2004

I've got books occupying most of my house, but the only ones I'm collecting (as opposed to buying for professional reasons) are the UK first editions of Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe series. I do collect playbills and souvenir programs related to a couple of shows/actors.
posted by thomas j wise at 5:07 PM on October 13, 2004

Comics, particularly Golden Age DC and Silver Age Marvel. My Avengers collection is just about perfect. Though, I wish I had taken an interest in X-Men when I was young instead -- worth more today and I like the story lines far more.

Coins, particularly from East India Co. holdings. Some American.

Books, because you can never have enough.

I'd also just like to add that I really like the [+] instead of [more inside]. It's typographically beautiful.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:24 PM on October 13, 2004

Radiograms. The giant post-war pices of furniture that played records and had an AM radio. They are large and make moving house a pain in the butt. I also collect portable record players. And I also hold on to a lot of useless shit that has a story behind it. Food packaging, tickets. Stuff that has nice design. I'm into preservation. Something to show the kids someday.
posted by bdave at 6:09 PM on October 13, 2004

I also collect counties! Also shotglasses (for reasons much like those jammer mentioned above), bottle openers, and titanium tchotchkes.
posted by youhas at 8:00 PM on October 13, 2004

I collect Japanese Robot Toys. I used to be big into comics, and still have about 2000 in storage. I also got bit with the Star Wars bug in 97, and have most of the newer figures right up until episode 1 came out.
posted by quibx at 6:26 AM on October 14, 2004

I collect German nutcrackers, nazgul, any Lego Darth _____ figures, Stikfas, Tom Waits bootlegs, books by Bernard Cornwell, F. Paul Wilson, Gregory Mcdonald, or Tim Powers (signed, pref), antique bayonets, IPAs, Caymus wines, and various comics (always in novel form).

I'm also broke most of the time.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:27 AM on October 14, 2004

I actually collected a lot of stuff as a kid,

My SO (an atheist) prizes his collection Chick Tracts-- most of which he got Trick or Treating as a kid. He loves to read, so getting stuff to read at Halloween was even better than candy to him.

We're both very easy to shop for during the holidays.

And How! My Sister-In-Law collects roosters and My Mother-in-Law collects Thomas Kincaid stuff-- it makes buying gifts a no-brainer.

I don't think of myself as a book collector-- though I guess I am. But I go through weird phases of having to have every volume published by certain authors. I've never matched the mania I reached as a teenager, though, when I had to have everything written by P. G. Wodehouse. I even have a notebook with a complete listing of all his works with notations about which edition I bought and what shape it was in. I remember typing this out on an old manual typewriter and it took weeks.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:58 AM on October 14, 2004

Anyone who has helped me move would probably say I collect everything, but there are really only a few things I go out of my way to collect: Elongated (squished) pennies from places I visit; floaty pens and souvenir hockey pucks. I also letterbox, so I guess you could count letterbox stamps. But if I'm going to count those, I'll probably also have to count historical markers.
posted by aine42 at 12:31 PM on October 14, 2004

Okay, county collectors: where are you getting your county maps?
posted by jdroth at 12:40 PM on October 14, 2004

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