The Key to Collecting
Man, I don't know why I'm posting these pics. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess. Welp, here ya go. Just a taste of what I've accumulated throughout the years, ever since my 3 dollar purchase back in 2001. I started out just buying cookbooks, booklets, and pamphlets from the 40's through the 60's, but then I noticed similar tastes and styles with children's books, textbooks and various other ephemera, like maps and brochures, from the same era. What is it about paper? I swear I cannot pass a flea market booth without skimming for paper goods. And the fact that some of these things are cheap (anywhere from 2 to 10 dollars), makes it all the more fun for me.
Yes, eBay has played a major role in obtaining most of these items -- usually the books, of course. I try not to spend more than 20 to 25 bucks on a particular title, unless I know just how rare it may be. The good thing about most of these books is that the seller doesn't know what they have, and will be selling a hard-to-find book for $5. Lucky me.
You can see some of my Little Golden Book collection here. I have more at work and some just lying around in the attic. Like the rest of my collection.
I have not one organizing bone in my body, therefore I resort to boxes and plastic bins for all of my stuff. One day I'd like to be able to organize everything into separate catagories. Wouldn't that be nice? Anyone care to share your organizing secrets?
Having everything together in one place helps because I like to go up into the attic sometimes and just sit and browse through it all. Thumbing through pages and pages like a customer in a bookstore, I pore over all my purchases, often recollecting the times when I first bought them. Sometimes I might forget about a particular item, and then a rush will go through me, as if I'm looking at the book or pamplet for the very first time. There's nothing like rediscovering your collection -- at times it feels like finding a $20 bill in an old coat pocket, or something.
Of course there are the times I look at my huge collection and wonder, "Just what in the world am I going to do with all this stuff?" Am I really benefitting from having all these old books and papers up here in my possession -- a fire hazard, no less? But then I wake up from this fog when I pick up some booklet on Kotex products from 1955 and sit down and laugh at the cutesy female figure with spirals for eyes. I get lost in that world, I do. Not like I would've loved to live during that time, but I sometimes try to imagine what it would've been like to look at these illustrations and artwork when they were fresh and new. To have the knowledge that this was the way it was -- not "retro." To know that if I walked outside, I would see big metal cars with beautifully designed grills and tailfins, and gas station attendants to fill up your tank. Idealized world, I'm sure. Afterall, I'm only viewing it in retrospect from ads and articles, books and stationary, illustrations and drawings. Nothing is ever like it seems when it is viewed through the distorted glass of time. Just thumb through our magazines today and try to convince me that you identify with the people and products being shown. It's an illusion.
But I digress. What I was going to say is that when I do sit down and go through my collection, I get creatively charged. It's invigorating to see tons of great illustrations done with style. And somehow I try to imagine incorporating that same high level of panache into my own creations. It's more along the lines of paying respect to your elders, I guess. They raised the bar and you are just trying to do your best to reach it.
Often times, when I come back down from the attic after browsing for an hour or two, I'll plop down next to Andrea and sigh, "You know, when I go through all my stuff, it just makes me so happy."
And that is the key to collecting.
I'd like to see your collections, whether it be old stuff or new. You name it, I'd like to see it. What makes you happy?