So, What Do You Collect?

So, what do you collect?

(Excuse me if this question has been asked before; I searched threads but couldn’t find it anywhere. It is inspired by the “How Many Books Do You Own?” thread, wherein some posters had mentioned collecting certain genres of books or those put out by certain publishers, First Editons, etc.).

For me, my SO would answer “Too many things”, but she does admit that she finds them all to be interesting and is very encouraging to me about all of them.
When I was six, I started collecting stamps. Within a couple of years, I branched out to coins, and then in my early teens I got interested in foreign paper money, since it was money and was usually printed by the same printers that printed stamps, so it was a kind of natural overlap.

When I was about kindergarten age, my mom started reading The Hardy Boys to my younger brother and I, one chapter a night before bedtime. During that time (the mid 60s), I remember seeing different versions of the same book in the stores, either with different cover art or with a different story, and when I started school, I noticed that some of the ones they had there had the same brown covers on multiple volumes; in time I learned that they had originally been released with book jackets. Eventually, when I started getting my own money, I started collecting Hardy Boys books, and was amazed to find that there were different printings, etc., all collectible.

When I was a teenager, I lived in a small town in the middle of tourist country, frequented by American fishermen in the summer and American hunters in the fall. They would bring with them their own beer in cans, and the cans would wind up at the dump, as they had no return premium. This coincided with my then-part time job working on the town garbage truck, and it was because of this that I then started to collect beer cans, because there were so many different types and they were colourful.

Naturally, like most kids of the era, I collected bubble gum cards. Over time, I would formalize (i.e., get serious about) my collection and specialize in collecting hockey cards.

Also, while I lived in tourist country, I had an accumulation of Time and Life magazines fall into my lap. It turned out that someone who was a summer resident was cleaning out their summer home. Up in the attic were boxes of old Time and Life magazines dated between 1939 and 1962. They took these boxes of magazines out and set them out for the trash collection, and I found them, all 24 boxes of them, all in beautiful condition. There was no way I was going to take these to the dump, so I convinced the truck driver to take a swing by my place on the way out to the dump so I could drop them off. It took a little convincing on my part concerning my mom, expecially since they smelled musty, but ultimately, she agreed to let me keep them. Eventually, I filled in some of the missing issues, and even branched out to collecting other magazines, if they had a personality cover.

Eventually, it got to the point where I would buy “anything obviously old” if I saw it at a garage sale at a cheap enough price, for example old box cameras, or bakelite radios (the more colourful the better), but I am not really serious about these, they just make good things to display. The same is true of all the colourful 30s-70s cocktail shakers I’ve picked up. If you get a grouping of five or more of anything, it just looks more impressive.

So, what do you collect? Is there anything in particular you haunt garage sales trying to find?

I collect coffee mugs, but not from garage sales. I have a coffee mug from each place I’ve visited, including my prized “Carhenge” mug. The collection is up around 40-50 mugs these days. I haven’t counted in a while.

Hiking staff medallions

Vintage purses, mainly art-deco, Whiting and Davis and Mandalian metal mesh. I get them at garage sales, antique shops and on auction sites. It all started when I inherited a couple of my grandma’s bags from the flapper era.
I also collect interesting old books.

I have a large collection of travel ephemera dating from the 1920s: postcards, tour booklets, early national park maps, stereoscope slides, etc.

I collect designer art toys.

I collect antique porcelain.

And dust.

T-shirts from places I’ve been, but since I started I’ve gone from M to XL so most of my collection doesn’t fit.

I seem to buy two books for everyone I read so I guess you could call that collecting also.

Movie posters from cheesy movies, mostly 1950s.

comic books



strange lights


walking sticks

bats ( members of the order chiroptera, not the implements used to play baseball)

old computers and gaming consoles

To quote Yukon Cornelius - Silver and Gold.

Comic books

Sports cards

McDonalds stuff

Hot sauce bottles that I have emptied

Queen memorabilia(The rock group)

I believe we did do this one before.

That, or I offered my collection in response to hijack.

The Holy Bible.

In different languages. I currently have Spanish, Italian, German, Greek.(And of course, English, but, that’s a cheat. Then again, I picked up the Spanish one in the Spanish section.)

First Edition books - mostly American Lit after 1950, but some Detective, Sci-Fi and other stuff…

Vintage Guitars - well, guitars in general, but I have gotten a few collectible ones

Magazines related to, well, books and guitars - I get them and can’t seem to toss them like I can my copies of Entertainment Weekly or The New Yorker…

Fantasy and science fiction novels, mostly paperbacks, particularly obscure authors from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.




Playing cards. I have about 170 different decks, mostly casino used, and decks from most places I have visited. A few weekends back, my wife spotted a double deck of KEM plastic cards from 1947 still in their original bakelite case and with the care instruction booklet, and since buying them, they have become a new subgroup obsession, although they are relatively pricey for cards.

Records (vinyl) and CD’s


Science fiction, but especially sf magazines, because they are a finite thing to collect, and getting more finite all the time. I can have complete runs of magazines, which is fun. As for books I especially like Daw books (which are numbered to encourage collecting - on purpose.) I am mostly interested in older books - say up to 1980, since the field has exploded so much recently keeping up is impossible. My goal is to create want lists for publishers like Ace and Ballantine who were active during the 1950s.

I also kind of collect certain types of jigsaw puzzles, but that is just keeping things I find in thrift shops, not actively looking for them.

Currently a lot of MP3s. I’ve almost got my 2TB hard drive filled. I ripped all of my CDs so now I won’t get as many duplicates.

It used to be sheet music books, but when I did my last move to the house, I decided that was the last time I was moving half of them. So a bunch went on eBay and the rest went to Half Price Books. I still have about 800 books, but those are my most favoritists.