Ed Tuten, the antiques and collectibles columnist for The Best Times, has said the collecting of items is akin to a hunt, or a search that can become personally consuming.
The hunter has the goal of finding a piece that will complete a collection, Tuten said. The desire to find that piece, to collect it, becomes a “mind-boggling disease,” he added.
Tuten, the executive secretary of the New England Appraisers Association, offers this advice for beginning collectors: Become educated about what you want to collect.
He has offered these tips on becoming learned about what you want to collect.
“If you’re just starting out, you’re interested in one thing usually, so you find out all you can about that subject, you buy books, you go to the Internet, you join collector clubs, you talk to people who are knowledgeable about that subject and then you’re informed.”
He added, “You become a member of a collecting society. They have meetings and newsletters and they offer a venue. Information is shared.”
Tuten, a retired Anglican priest said he has become interested in tin penny toys.
“I’ve started collecting them.”
The toys were made from tin and sold for a penny.
“Kids played with them. Some can be wound up. I started reading about them. Who made them.”
The toys were made in the early 1900s.
“Most of us are collectors, some of us are hoarders. A collector has the idea that he is going to go out and find the piece that will complete his collection and it’s the search, it’s the finding of that piece or those pieces,” Tuten said. ”You read and you study and you refine and it’s a high when you find that piece.”
Beanie Babies were the thing to collect several years ago, Tuten said.
“People paid lots of money for a particular Beanie Baby,” he said. “Today they are not worth a tinker’s damn.”
People still search out pieces such as vintage furniture, Tuten said.
An antique is traditionally considered to be an item 100 years or older, Tuten said. Collectibles is another term used in amassing items, he said.
An example of a collectible is Fiesta Ware, he said.
“Fiesta Ware was made by Homer Laughlin...during the Depression and it really saved the company. It was in bright colors and it’s very collectible. It wouldn’t be considered an antique, although it’s 1928-1930.”
Collectors usually have an interest in an item, such as guns or coins or pottery, Tuten said.
He added, “You’re going to get burned -- all of us do. We buy something that we think is perfect and it turns out that it’s not.”
Tuten’s advice is to buy what you love.
“We collect what we love,” Tuten said. “That motivates us to read and to study and to collect.