Most people collect stamps, coins, comic books, and toys. Meanwhile, there’s a small community of people who collect jewelry, fine art, car, and fine wines. However, you might find it interesting to learn that many of today’s collectors collect fascinatingly unique things.
How fascinating, you might ask. Well, a woman from Orlando spent 29 years collecting banana labels. The fact that banana labels are easily discarded makes them special for her.
Whether it’s banana labels or soda cans, there’s no one stopping you from starting a collection. It is a sin, however, not to do your research before collecting things. So read on for some helpful tips that you can use when starting your collection!
Plan Your Collection: Decide on What Item You Want to Collect
The first step to starting a collection is to decide which things to collect. The best way to decide is to consider your interest.
For instance, collecting comic books might work if you’re an avid comic reader. Meanwhile, rock climbers can consider collecting rocks, pebbles, or even leaves.
Aside from your interests, think about what you can collect with your job or from where you’re located. For example, if your job requires you to travel a lot, you can consider collecting maps or other souvenir items. On the other hand, those living in the tropic can try collecting seashells.
A collection doesn’t always have to be of something peculiar either. Even everyday items such as plates, spoons, bags, and shoes can make a good collection. Moreover, it doesn’t hurt to expand on a small collection of things you’ve inherited.
Consider the Supply and Demand When Deciding
It’s also best to think about the supply and demand of things before deciding to collect them. For example, a lot of people have giant collections of small items such as stamps and CDs. This is because there’s plenty of supply available for such items.
Yet, the demand for such items isn’t enough to make the collection valuable. Hence, collections like these end up stored or thrown away.
Don’t get us wrong; it’s not that small things aren’t historical or charming. Most people see these things as throwaway trinkets, hence the poor demand.
Factor in the Difficulty of Collecting Such Items
While collecting things is fulfilling, it often comes with many challenges. This especially applies to the financial aspect of collecting. Thus, it’s wise to consider how financially difficult collecting an item will be.
If antiques, wines, and guitars are out of your budget, don’t force yourself into collecting them. Aside from money, there’s also the literal difficulty of locating and acquiring items.
If you’re someone who loves the chase of acquiring rare things, then why not? Yet, if you’re not keen on traveling to collect items, then it’s better to choose widely available things.
Why are You Collecting Things?
Finally, what’s your purpose for collecting such an item? Are you collecting out of interest, or are you collecting for profit?
Depending on your purpose, the list of preferable things to collect may shift. For instance, those collecting for profit will have to focus on things that are of value. This often means rare or limited-edition items.
Narrow Down Your Initial Choice
After determining what to collect, it’s time to identify the specifics of your collection. It’s too vague to say that you’re going to collect books, cards, or figurines.
Books alone have various categories and genres they fall in. Deciding to collect all the books you can find is pretty ambitious. Aside from the need for a huge budget, you’ll also have trouble storing and displaying them.
As such, we recommend narrowing down your choice. If you choose to collect artwork, for instance, narrow it down by only collecting works of an artist. If you’re collecting rocks, try collecting rocks by color, shape, or classification.
In-depth Research is a Must!
Knowing what to collect doesn’t mean you can go right ahead and start buying them. Instead, you can dig for information about such items first to make a smart purchase. The more you know about an item, the easier it will be to track them down.
Moreover, researching allows you to understand what makes your collection valuable. Hence, when someone sells them to you, you’ll know right away if they’re asking for way too much.
As such, spend time learning everything there is to know about your collection. Find out about how they make the item as well as the materials they’re made of. It’s also best to jot down its history and what makes it unique.
Don’t forget to research what marking to look for when determining forgery. Moreover, get to know what variety or type are people most interested in and why. While you’re at it, research for some collecting tips that can help you build your collection.
It’s also important to learn about the proper ways to maintain and store such items. Buying is only half of the work; you’ll need to ensure that your collection is in good condition. This is especially true if you plan to sell them.
By the way, are you a shoe collector? Learn about how to style and display Nike Air Max Koko here!
Learn About the Best Places to Find Items
Antique stores are one of the best places to comb through for collectible items. They make a good stop-over if you’re collecting silverware, figurines, and furniture. They’re also home to records, vintage books, jewelry boxes, art deco, and signages.
Make sure to take your time when visiting an antique store. Dig through every box and case to find hidden items.
Online platforms such as eBay also make a good hunting place for a collectible. If not, you might want to look through a garage or estate sales. Garage sales are your best bet, especially if you’re collecting local items.
Flea markets are also worth combing through. Items commonly sold in flea market includes collectibles, furniture, clothing, and housewares. The beauty of flea markets is that most of the items sold, although common, are unique in make and design.
If you didn’t have any luck visiting these places, you could proceed to attend collector’s shows. Almost every collectible today has conventions or shows. These events are mainly designed to gather collectors who want to expand their collections.
Keep an Open Mind when Collecting Things
The beauty of collecting things is that you never know where you’ll find them. While the surrounding may seem out of the ordinary to you, it doesn’t mean that the items inside aren’t valuable. Keep an open mind and still search through the area.
Take, for instance, the story of a bowl that someone bought at a garage sale in New York in 2007. After having the bowl checked, they found that the $3 bowl is a rare 1,000-year-old China creation.
What’s more, is that it’s one of the only two known to exist. This amazing find was later sold for $2.2 million in 2013 via an auction.
Slowly Build Your Collection
Once you’ve started collecting, it can be tempting to aim for the higher-value pieces from the get-go. As a result, many collectors run out of money only a few months after starting. Some end up having way too much stuff than necessary, becoming hoarders.
To avoid running out of steam, collect items slowly and build your way up. Aim only to collect a few pieces a year to prevent yourself from wasting money and burning out.
Think of collecting as building a pyramid. There has to be a foundation before you can move up higher. Similarly, start with collecting common and low-value pieces as a foundation. Then slowly buy rarer pieces after you’ve gained enough knowledge and experience.
Make Sure to Build Connections
If you want to make collecting easier, build a connection with individuals who are in the same industry as your niche. They can be shop owners, auctioneers, curators, and fellow collectors. A relationship with them will give you access to resources that can help you track and buy your niche item.
One way to connect with such individuals is by joining collection community events. Look for conferences in your area and find time to join. If you’re a pen lover living in or near San Francisco, for instance, try going to the annual San Francisco International Pen Convention.
Joining such events allows you to connect with experienced hobbyists who can give you tips for collecting. Such a relationship can further lead you to a bigger network that can keep you updated with changes about the item you’re collecting.
It also helps to tell people such as your colleagues, friend, and family that you’re a collector. They might come across an item or a person who has something you’re interested in.
It’s Ideal to Collect in Sets
William Sprague is an autograph collector. If you look at how he created his autograph collection, he first focused on collecting the autograph of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. After completing this, he proceeded to collect the autographs of the officers who served in the Revolutionary War.
Likewise, it’s best to start working on your collection in sets. For instance, if you’re collecting football cards, you can start by collecting the cards of Hall of Famers. If you’re collecting shoes, try collecting the limited-edition release per year.
By doing so, you’re dialing down your collection into recognizable categories. This makes it easier to track which items you already have and what items you need to get.
Consider Trading Your Collectibles
Let’s go back to William Buell Sprague one last time. William Sprague compiled over 100,000 autographs. He never once paid for one of these autographs. What he did was he traded his collection with other collectors.
Acquiring pieces for the sole purpose of trading art is part of building your collection. You’re not only buying items to add to your collection but also buying items that other collectors might not have. In simple terms, you’re buying one you can use as leverage to get a missing piece in your collection.
Learn About Your Item’s History
Apart from the materials used, history contributes to the value of your collectible. Take, for example, the Flowing Hair Silver Dollar, which sold for $10 million in 2013 at auction.
What made the coin into a $10 million worth of collectible is the story behind it. According to documents, it’s one of the silver dollars minted at the first U.S Mint in Philadelphia. It’s also believed to be the first coin of the press, further increasing its value.
When you buy something for your collection, do everything you can to find out its story. In cases where it’s impossible to learn about the story, at least try to identify the period it came from.
Think Ahead: How Will You Organize and Display Your Collection?
One of the most common ways to organize and display collections is to use curio cabinets. This type of cabinet has glass doors that allow you to store and show off your collection.
If you’re collecting small items, you can organize them into binders. There are widely available plastic sheets specifically designed for storing collectibles like stamps and cards. Remember to store your binders in a safe and dry place to keep them from warping.
Meanwhile, you can also consider mounting your collection. Hanging shadowboxes make a great way to show off the vase and small figurine collections. While floating shelves and hooks are great for displaying hats, shoes, and bags.
When displaying your collection, don’t just pile them. Instead, arrange your collectibles in such a way that you’re telling a story. Arrange your shoe collection, for instance, by year to share the evolutionary story of footwear.
Start Your Collector’s Journey today!
While collecting things may sound easy, the journey is actually filled with obstacles. You might find yourself running out of funds. You might also have a hard time tracking down an item of interest.
Not to mention the high chance of buying a forgery. The list of challenges that collectors can find themselves entangled with is endless. Make sure to apply the tips mentioned above to help avoid as many risky situations as possible.
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