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September 18, 2008


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I collect Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG and any other company that needs a bailout.

My husband collects coins. He spends probably $80 on new mint coins each year. He used to spend a couple more hundred each year on other coins from dealers but has stopped in recent years. The collection is worth substantially more than he has spent. He inherited his grandmother's coins which are worth a lot too. I think it's something that you can spend a relatively small amount on and the value will definitely go up over time. Also a good way to learn about history.

I used to collect clown figurines for fun. I kept them in a shadow box on the wall. When my husband and I joined households, he bumped it and broke a few. I was so upset. Then I realized how stupid it was to be upset and gave the collection away. It was the first time I experienced the freedom of not being burdened by stuff.

Not collecting per se, but I like to own and keep any book I ever read. I probably read a book a month or so. I subscribe to a bunch of magazines for free from unused frequent flyer programs that I don't want to expire so that's why it takes me longer.

I collect wine (for consumption). The value is that you can lay away wine that you buy now and drink it years later when it is at its peak. Buying older wines at wine stores would be prohibitively expensive.

So, collecting is all about a passion for a hobby. I too had a comic book collection and small coin collection as a kid. I think it can teach a couple of important values for kids: saving (to them purchase those items), increased value as something gets older and less common, taking care of something, and letting kids feel ownership. And, in an implied way it teaches about history, and legacy. All good things for kids to learn while having fun doing it.

I have a very small coin collection - most of which only has worth as novelty or sentimental value.

I'm also definitely a book collector (mostly fiction) - with the caveat that I will ONLY keep a book if I am sure I will read it again and/or loan it out to my friends. This type of collection is relatively cheap to build - I buy 5-10 brand-new books each year (which would be $250 at most), and I probably spend another $50 or so on used books. The only downside is that they take an awful lot of space to store, and good quality (solid wood, not particle board) bookshelves get expensive quickly.

I collect currency from countries that I have visited. I love to travel and I always try to hold on to some of the better quality bills I come across. I don't try to bust the bank and keep a ton of currency, just the most common paper (well, not really paper) bills. When I get home I put them in a small picture frame with some of the other photos I took while on vacation.

It usually ends up around $50 - $100 worth of bills, depending on the local currency. I try to take one trip a year so I am getting to the point where I need may need to rotate my picture frames or the house will become a bit too cluttered.

GEEK ALERT! I collect comic books. Not new stuff but mostly from the 60's. I don't know if it will be valuable or not in the future. I can always donate it to a library or university if they have a graphic arts program (and want it). I just love Jack Kirby's work. The only thing that is bad is move time. Comics are not light. At those times, I wish I liked stamps.

I also am a sucker for Gordie Howe autographs. In the past 10 years or so, the makers of hockey cards insert random autographs. As to authenticity, instead of stats on the back of the card, it will say congrats on this auto. I don't know if they are worth anything but Mr. Hockey was my hero growing up (though I only saw him play in one game when I was 6 years old). In theory, I guess these are worth something but they feel like a connection to my youth so I loathe to part with them.

I have not purchased much of either in a while so I cannot say what I spend in a year. I usually try for the 'best deal'.

Over time I have been a collector of many things. First it was bells. No particular brand or theme. Anything with a clacker would do. That lasted about 2 yrs. They are currently in a box at my mom's house. Next it was "Fire King" kitchen glassware. Martha Stewart made the jade color very collectible and drove the price out of range for me. I currently have 8 large totes in a shed out in the backyard. It is hard to say how much I spent on the glassware....or maybe I really don't want to know how much I spent.

I collect dust.

Seriously, though, I collect coins. I used to collect shot glasses, golf balls, and beer steins, but stopped because it was costing me too much. I decided that I would only collect the things that brought me enjoyment, so now I only collect Playboy Bunnies, no, er..wait....COINS. I only collect coins.

I have always enjoyed collecting coins and the history behind the minted pieces of art. I spend several hundred dollars per year purchasing from the US Mint for both me and my son (I buy two of each thing that I purchase from the Mint). Once my son gets out on his own, I will give him his portion of what I have collected. I will continue collecting until I pass from this world and my son will get my collection to that point. I don't sell any of the coins I collect, just keep them.

The value of my collection has skyrocketed lately due to the increase in the price of gold and silver. The value of my collection is well into the five figures and I have only been collecting since 1999 when the Statehood quarters came out. I do buy from dealers from time to time if I find a coin that is appealing to me, but mostly through the Mint right now and friends who find coins they don't want or have received from their family members' estates.

The problem with comics/baseball cards/coins etc collectibles now is that there's nothing particularly rare or valuable coming out. Anything that is manufactured is designed to be bought by people who are "collecting" and will never have much resale value because there's too much glut of good-condition, near-new inventory. Usually the person who buys it first pays the most for it, if it's some kind of "collectible" designed for collectors. To really collect anything, you have to go back in time to when the item is actually rare because back then no one thought it would be collectible and didn't preserve it. Probably every comic since the 90s is in glut quantities of mint condition, and maybe earlier. You'd have to go back to the early 70s or 60s to get something rare. It's expensive & time consuming. I don't know about other fields, but I think they're similar. (Yes, I'm a survivor of the Image Comics glut of the mid 90s and subsequent market collapse. People learned this lesson the hard way.) If you like something, collect it, but don't try to make money off of it.

I collect two things, both Broadway-related.

The first are snowglobes, produced annually by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. You can see an example here: They are made at the end of each calendar year and feature every musical produced on Broadway in that year. They've been made since 1999 and I have every one except for 2004, which is impossible to find. I used to buy them at full price, but have learned that around this time, the price is discounted by about 50%.

I also collect posters from the shows that I or my family have seen, and usually get them autographed by the original cast members. These are personally valuable to me, and I think they could have financial value as well: Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Producers, nearly the entire original cast of Hairspray, the full cast of Threepenny Opera and Little Shop of Horrors (revivals), etc. Usually when the show features more famous people, the value increases. (My folks are seeing Equus with Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths over Thanksgiving, and I've begged them to get me an autographed poster.)

I can't think of anything except clothes that I no longer fit into and am too cheap to donate/throw away.

My husband has a thing about buying putters that he has no intention of using on the golf course, so I guess that constitutes as his collection. Oh, he also has a collection of golf balls from all the courses he has played.

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