Collecting vs. Hogging

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How do you differentiate between someone who collects and someone who merely gathers and hoards random items? Unlike a random compilation of items, collecting has a specific theme and purpose. It is an art and you need to know the basics of collecting before getting started.

What to Collect and How?

People collect just about everything, from vintage cars, stamps and valuable books to artwork, antique furniture and dolls. Here’s a list of items that you can start collecting today and a little info on how to go about it.

Collecting Stamps

You can choose to collect stamps from all over the world or only from South Africa, or stamps that have a thematic similarity (same colour, shape, type etc.). There is no right or wrong way to begin collecting stamps. The best place to start would be a stamp dealer (in your city or online) or a hobby shop. Once you start to build a substantial collection, make sure to sort and organise your stamps carefully, with annotations/labels.

Collecting Antique Furniture

Whether you're interested in it as a hobby or for decorating your own house, collecting antique furniture can be a very rewarding experience. You can start collecting antiques at your local antique stores, online at specialty antique retailers and also at estate sales. When collecting antiques, it is better to build a focused collection rather than a smattering of everything. For example, a collection of only Victorian antiques will become more valuable over time than a collection which has a little of Victorian, a bit of William and Mary, and some Georgian or Federal.

Collecting Rare Books

You can collect books that are your personal favourites. But seasoned book collectors tend to build a collection of limited edition books, first editions, signed copies, manuscripts or ancient books. You could also build a huge collection of books written by the same author(s). You can dig up some of these treasures in your local bookstore or if your library hosts a book sale but these days, the best sources for rare books are online retailers.

No matter what you collect, it is important to add to your collection continually and preserve it carefully. Get in touch with collectors who have interests similar to yours. This will help you learn more and even swap items if needed.

Like any other art, collecting takes time to perfect; you won’t become an expert in a few days or weeks. You’ll make a few mistakes here and there, that’s okay. Just make sure to do your homework before spending significant sums of money on a collectible. Invest well in your collection, and it might become highly sought-after in a few years, you never know!

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