I remember asking my mother when I was little, “Mom what can I collect? I need a collection!” It seems that most collections are a bit more organic in their generation and development. Your Great Aunt Sally gives you a charming teapot and the rest is history as you embark on a delightful journey, scouring flea markets and antique stores for new friends for that first, special teapot. I, however, always felt uninspired in this area. I needed my mother to please tell me what I should be collecting so I could get on with it. I had a box of rocks and minerals, I had a few kaleidoscopes, some dolls…but I never really got anywhere.

Apparently this desire to have a collection still nags me, because recently I found myself caught up in researching the subject. I dove into internet searches and books on collecting with great commitment. I was fascinated to learn about types of collections that had never occurred to me—or items I hadn’t even heard of before! Match safes, tip trays, hotel silver, French enamel—oh the possibilities! I kept going, my research expanded, I took notes.

And where did I get? I remain without a single match safe or piece of Depression glass. I own not one vintage advertising tin. However, I can tell you where to look for them, what to look for, and how to learn about your next great treasure. I know that glass can have straw marks or bubbles, but steer clear of “glass sickness.” I know how to navigate eBay with savvy. For me, it seems that the research was the best part. I guess I collect…information! (Although, the next time I come across a piece of American Limoges china in that pattern I just have to have, I’m not missing my chance.)


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