How to Collect Things

Three Parts:

Collections look impressive, but have you ever wondered how much time it takes to start one? What about effort? Actually, it's easy!


Starting Your Collection

  1. Consider why you want to start a collection.People do it for fun, or because the collected item might become valuable. You can make it as narrow or as broad a field as you like. There are three basic categories to choose from:
    • Free. This category often includes sentimental objects like postcards, or fun ones like bottle caps.
    • Inexpensive. This category may include baseball cards or figurines.
    • Expensive. This third category tends to be for expert collectors with items like art pieces, or antiques.
  2. Decide on a budget.Whether you are collecting coins, dolls, or fossils being a serious collector can be expensive.
    • Single coins can sell from a few dollars to ,000.
    • A doll can be found at a flea market or antique store for very little, or it could be a L’Oiseleur which runs the price tag of .25 million.
  3. Choose your collection.There are a variety of different kinds of collections.
    • Stamps.
    • Old coins. A coin collection could be early American pennies, foreign coins, Roman coins are only a few ideas.
    • Books. Anything from modern books of poetry to limited first edition.
    • Fossils.
  4. Research your item.Learn where it is best to find the item, how best to care for it.
    • For coins, books likeThe Everything Coin Collecting Bookis a useful place to start.
    • Most collections have websites where collectors, enthusiasts and sellers have their wares.
    • Go to the library! Librarians can help you research your collection and find resources.
    • Items like dolls, coins, baseball cards and figurines can be found in hobby shops, flea markets, garage sales, antique stores and sometimes even your own attic.
    • When it comes to caring for your collection, make sure you are doing so properly. This is particularly important if you are creating a collection with the hopes that it will increase in value.
  5. Understand the legality of your collection.Depending on its contents many countries may have restrictions on buying certain items.
    • A UNESCO resolution places restrictions on the movement of antiquities, including coins.
    • The U.S. and other countries have certain restrictions on firearms.
  6. Enjoy doing it!For example, don't collect football cards if you find football boring. This is about your interests.

Caring for Your Collection

  1. Get your collection appraised.This step is important for people who are trying to collect something that is, or will become, valuable.
    • Start by searching for someone in your neighborhood: a vendor you're familiar with, a flea market, an antique shop.
    • Associations like the American Society of Appraisers or International Society of Appraisers can connect you with the right person. Be prepared to pay for the service, although some auction houses may offer a free appraisal.
    • Don't trust eBay. There is no easy way to verify someone's credentials.
  2. Exhibit your collection.After all the time and energy you've put into creating your collection there are ways to make it so it can be seen and admired by others. Different collections have different needs when it comes to exhibition.
    • Occasionally museum and libraries carry works or collections of students or communities members. Talk to your local museum or library to see if they might be interested.
    • Most kinds of collections should be displayed out of the sun which can fade the objects in the collection.
    • Artwork, should be well lit, but out of direct light, especially natural light.
    • Coins are typically stored in albums and folders, in coin tubes and capsules. Capsules are best for individual coins, particularly for valuable ones. Albums and folders made exhibition easier.
    • For larger items, like dolls or fossils, use a glass fronted cabinet. Storing them in the open could damage them.
  3. Preserve your collection.This is, again, especially important if you are collecting with the hope of your collection being worth something. The better preserved the collection the more worth it will have. Knowledge is the most important component. Know how best to care for your collection.
    • Putting a doll in a plastic container can cause it to mold if moisture seeps in.
    • If you are collecting dolls you should make sure that you have the original clothes, particularly when it comes to antique dolls.
    • Cleaning coins might make them less valuable. Proceed with caution and handle them only by their edges with your thumb and forefinger.
    • Artwork, especially, is affected by light, humidity, and temperature. Lighting is particularly difficult and it is recommended to use a mixture of halogen and incandescent light and avoid direct light. Temperature should be kept low and it is best to maintain as constant a humidity as possible.
    • Do not store antique books in a basement or attic. Leather bound books can be destroyed by heat and humidity and gaseous pollutants. The best way to protect them is an archival, which can be purchased for under .
    • Collected items should be kept out of the reach of children, animals, water damage and food damage.

Identifying Specific Collecting Opportunities

  1. Collect coins, or become a numismatist, a collector and studier of money.Coin collecting is one of the oldest hobbies. It possibly goes back to the Augustus during the Roman Empire. It has been a hobby of kings, as well as, a part of scholarly study. There are many different types of coin collections.
    • Coins of antiquity. In this category are Roman coins, Byzantine coins, Greek coins. These categories are further broken down into the different eras. You could join something like the Ancient Coin Collectors Guildto make connections and learn further. Many coins can be recognized by the Roman Emperor on the front.
    • Early American coins. You could focus on a specific area, such as the small cent and only collect those coins, or you could do as Louis E. Eliasberg and attempt to create a complete collection of all American coins ever made. Some examples of early American coins include the Half Cent 1793-1857, the Large Cent 1793-1857, the Small Cent 1856-Date which we would recognize today as the penny.
    • Be aware of issues of forgery and counterfeiting with coins. New technology has made it particularly easy to forge older coins. For early American coins make sure you are buying PCGS or NGC certified ones. Have them appraised. Always check the reputation of the seller. Try to buy from someone you trust.
  2. Collect dolls.As with coins, there is a wide variety of dolls. You will need to specify your collection's focus.
    • Look into the United Federation of Doll Clubs. They have events, education opportunities, workshops, vendors, and news on different dolls.
    • Subscribe to a doll collecting magazine like Antique Doll Collector Magazine.
    • Some different types of dolls there are china dolls, miniatures, cloth dolls, modern dolls, etc.
    • Learn the terms for various types and aspects of dolls. Auction sites might have the term "A/O" which means all original.
    • Each doll type needs its own level of care and expense. For instance, doll hair might be a wig or rooted in the doll's head. The hair can be made from synthetic materials, mohair, or human hair. Each requires a different type of cleaning.
  3. Collect fossils.You don't even need to be a paleontologist to do so.
    • Types of fossils. The two categories of fossils are fossilized body parts and fossilized traces. Fossils break down into four types: mold (an impression of an animal or plant), cast (as when the mold fossil is filled in), trace (nest, burrow, footprint), and true form (the part or whole of the actual being).
    • Best places to find a fossil. Look for sedimentary rocks, in rivers, lakes and on the seafloor. Common sedimentary rocks are sandstone, limestone, and shale. In the United States Western United States, from Texas to Montana often reveals dinosaur fossils. In Britain, beaches and quarries are the best places to look. Pay close attention to cliff faces, under rocks, the tide line. Also, keep an eye out on a river bank. China has the Liaoning province, where paleontologists have unearthed a wide variety of fossils!
    • Remember not to trespass and not to remove any rocks or fossils on land where it's prohibited. Also, don't steal from excavation sites.
  4. Collect away!You now have the basics for choosing, researching, and caring for a collection.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What are popular things that I could collect?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    All kinds of things! Stamps, postcards, ornaments, coffee mugs, coins, baseball cards, etc. are all popular collectible items.
  • Question
    How do I know what to collect?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Find something free or cheap that you can collect easily.
  • Question
    Could I collect Mockingjay pins?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Of course! You can collect anything you want as long as it's legal.
  • Question
    Can I collect earrings?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Of course! I do! I have about 70 pairs of earrings, all different designs, and I wear all of them.
  • Question
    How do I collect tickets from shows/movies/concerts I have been to?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Usually you're given a ticket stub to keep. Also, it's common nowadays for the usher/ticket taker to just scan your ticket and give it back to you, so you'll have your original ticket. You can collect these in a nice scrapbook, perhaps with photos or handwritten memories from the event.
  • Question
    How do I collect costume jewelry?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Whenever you get the chance to pass a jewelry store or a store that sells things like gems and rocks, take a peek, you'd be surprised what you find. You can also take a look on eBay and Etsy. Display your costume jewelry on a jewelry tree, or in a small, pretty box (and wear it of course).
  • Question
    Is there anything wrong with collecting bugs?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Of course not, as long as you take adequate care of them.
  • Question
    Can I collect bottle caps?
    Community Answer
    Of course you can! Anything can be collected, including bottle caps.
Unanswered Questions
  • Are there any good collecting sites?
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  • If you are seeking to create a collection that will gain in value you must care for it.
  • Make sure you have the space for your collection, or collect something small.
  • If you are just looking to collect things for fun, try rocks! As crazy as it sounds, rocks can have many features. They can be shiny, colored, and have different shapes and sizes. They're everywhere! Just have fun collecting them!
  • Try collecting free, natural, and outdoor objects such as rocks, seashells, stones, cool looking twigs, sticks, and branches! These objects can be found right in your backyard, park, and the beach.
  • Educate yourself about the items you will be collecting. Watch for reproductions.
  • Try not to go crazy and spend all of your money. Take your time!Collections are marathons-not races!


  • Certain collection crazes did not lead to monetary gain, such as pet rocks or Beanie Babies. Do the research to understand why your collection might have value, and don't forget to persist in collecting at some level.

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Date: 06.12.2018, 16:55 / Views: 31162