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My2 cents Cents About Collecting

Below will find other pages that have to do with other things we do to entertain our selves. (* link pages) 

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First let's determine the difference between three common used terms
  • Investor - a person who counts on the value going up
  • Collector - a person who collects items of the same interest for fun
  • Pack-rat - a person who keeps items of many different interests

I don't think of inventors as hobbyists, they do it for the money. Collectors and pack-rats do it for the fun and enjoyment.

Who is to say what is valuable or not, or what a person should collect. Just think about it. What one person may think of as junk, might be the greatest find for another person. People collect all kinds of stuff, that had no or little value when it was made. Here are just a few: salt & pepper shakers, lunch boxes, cereal boxes, drink cans, rocks, bottles, postage stamps, knickknacks, cards, comic books, and the list goes on forever.

Where people get in trouble with collecting

Never confuse collecting and investing. Many a person has bought an Avon item thinking it would be an investment. I've lost count of how many people have sent me e-mail wanting to sell a bottle or even a whole collection. (yes, I have bought a number of items from these people). However, I always feel bad having to tell them that what they thought was market value, was way far in left field. To give you an idea, most Avon items have dropped 50% or more since their value in the late '70s. Items from the '80s & '90s are very cheap. It goes back to that supply and demand system. Avon was a "Hot" thing to collect in the '70s, however like most fads, it came and went. Leaving only the true collectors.

Know thy limits

Space, budget, and family.

If you have a small home, and no place to store, and even less to display, large items or collections can cause problems.

If you live on a tight budget, and collect items that are expensive, you may have to pass up on an item. Can you say "No"?

If you collect large items, or have a large collection, is the family willing to share the space. Also the safekeeping of items from small children.


Have it appraised, and talk to your insurance person. You may have paid several hundred dollars for that special item, but to the average person its just an old bottle, toy, card,...

Listening to other people (including me)

Take Bud Hastin, the Author of the Avon Collector's Encyclopedia. In his book he states, " If any Avon is damaged in any way - I would not buy it. Collect only mint Avon and throw away the less than mint ones in the Avon Line". (14th edition, page 7) I have many items that are not mint, I bought them because I liked them. I also have bought many a damaged item, for spare parts.

Flea market dealers - many are honest, but there are those few that simply don't know or are dishonest.

The other professionals - get a second opinion, as with flea market dealers most are honest, but there are those few that would take advantage of you.

Me & My Collections

I'm the true pack-rat with a little of the collector traits mixed in, almost nothing gets thrown away, and a buy extra stuff. Of course this is an inherited trait of mine. I come from a long line of pack-rats. My great grandfather Skipper had so much stuff, that when we visited there were only narrow paths in his house. There was always a special box just for me, many an hour was spent playing with some of the most unusual stuff. My grandmother is also a true pack-rat, her home would put many antique shops to shame. My mother didn't inherent the pack-rat trait, but that's ok. between grandma and I, very little made it to the goodwill bag, or garage sales. I now only hope that one of my grandchildren have inherited the trait.

Now for that collector side of me, my main collections are:

Avon over 1,500 items last count  pride & joy - a real California Perfume bottle, 1959 mint condition Topaz, 1974 President's Celebration Silver Chest
Cat stuff, including lots of nice Garfield stuff
pride & joy - my stuffed kitty from the mid-fifties, autographed animation cell of Garfield placing the star on the Christmas tree
Glass & Crystal   about 100 or so pride & joy - an Italian art glass vase and a set of six cups and saucers made in Occupied Japan
Fast food and Breakfast Cereal premiums several hundred  pride & joy - the late '60s Mc Donalds Peanuts Christmas tree decorations in mint condition, and my John Glen coins from one of the cereals I ate as a kid
Miniature knickknacks almost anything that is less than an inch too many to count my miniature toys from my younger days
Stuff I pack-rat

Stuffed animals - Have every stuffed animal I ever received.

Anything that might come in handy for craft projects.

Macintosh software - Still have all that great stuff from the old Mac+ days.

Internet stuff - links, graphics, and MIDIs

Neat old stuff - kitchen stuff, lamps, books, odds & ends

Update: Eight years after this page was originally written, my grandmother passed. Being the next generation pack-rat, my collection has grown! Some people will never understand the mind of a packrat, but we are often the keepers of the little family treasures.

I only hope that one of my four grandchildren is willing to carry on this family tradition. After all how many people can say I have my great, great, great, great grandmother's Christmas decorations, or my great, great, great grandfather's (not grandmother) treadle sewing machine?

Remember to keep it fun - if you like it and can afford it - buy it