Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Principles of Collecting - Introduction

In his retirement, Dad's become a fairly popular speaker for fraternal organizations and the like. Many of his presentations center around some aspect of history, usually involving either local history, or the background of pre-war toy manufacturers.

Currently, he's developing a talk he'll present with a fellow toy car collector. It will be a presentation on the basics of collecting designed for retirees just contemplating taking up a hobby to occupy their leisure time.

As Dad and I traveled to the Train Collectors Association Eastern Division toy train meet in York, PA, his project prompted us to think about and discuss what the underlying concepts of collecting might be. And while at the meet, we had a chance to see some of those concepts in action.

So here's the question: if you knew someone who wanted to start a collection, what advice would you give? What principles universally apply whether you're interested in Beanie Babies or Hemingway First Editions?

It gave us a lot to think about. And (I think) we came up with some interesting ideas, which I'll discuss in detail in a series of posts. Look over this list, though, think about your own hobby, and let me know if I've overlooked something.

The principles of intelligent collecting:

1) Collect something you're passionate about

2) Have a focus to your collection

3) Have a plan for organizing and storing your collection

4) Build a solid knowledge base about the subject of your collection

5) Understand the market dynamics of your collecting subject

- Ralph

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