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Often collecting starts as an unconscious decision. It hits home when Christmas presents include five elephants "to go with the elephant collection" (Those two or three sitting on a table that makes others think you're collecting elephants) or when you realize how many cobalt bottles you've bought. But sometimes collecting is a conscious decision. It might start with wanting a remembrance of a vacation trip, looking for a personal touch in home decorating or picking up weird stuff found at the flea market. In either case, even though you should always collect with your heart, you can still collect smart!
  1. Different Strokes for Different Folks
  2. Tips for Collectors
  3. The Experts Share Tips for Beginning Collectors
  4. Learn to Identify Finds and Treasures
  5. Flea Markets, Shows and Museums
  6. Televison Shows
  1. Quizzes for Collectors
  2. Books, Magazines, eMail Newsletters
  3. The Companies Behind Our Collectibles
  4. Sharing Your Stories, Finds and Collections
  5. Crafts/Decorating/Trash to Treasures

Different Strokes for Different Folks

The word collectible means something different to everyone who ponders the question. Ask a non-collector what a collectible is and they will probably mention specific little figurines that are marketed as collectibles or, more likely, they will mention Beanie Babies! Meanwhile a collector might say they collect something like Disney, Pottery or Advertising -- usually a wide category. The fact of the matter is -- collectibles are all this and more. From antiques to MacDonald's fast food toys, it's all special in the eyes of the collector.

Tips for Collectors

What you collect is up to you, but there are tips and resources that every collector should know or follow. These are especially important if you're just starting out.

The Experts Share Tips for Beginning Collectors

Learn from the experts and collectors in the various fields. Find out what they look for and how they go about adding to their own collections. You may not have the years of experience, but you can take advantage of theirs.

Learn to Identify Finds and Treasures

What do you have? The first thing to look for is the manufacturers identifying mark and/or patent numbers. The mark can help you figure out several things, such as what company made it, when it was made and where it was made. Patent numbers will let you zero in on exactly as well as complete information on the item.

Use these resources to help date and value your collectibles.

Flea Markets, Shows and Museums

Although the Internet is great for those hard to find items, there is nothing like seeing an item in person. Holding and touching an item at shows is the best way to tell if it's authentic and how to identify similar piece in the future.

Shown here are a few places I've been visited and shows I've attended.

Televison Shows

Over the years there have been a number of shows for and about collecting, here are few that have profiled on the Collectibles site. There are a few shows no longer on, but occasionally show up in the middle of the night, as well as the granddaddy of them all -- the Antique Roadshow.

Quizzes for Collectors

Just starting out? Longtime collector? It doesn't matter, our fun quizzes are for everyone. Best of all they're just for fun and no one will know the score!

Books, Magazines, eMail Newsletters

Research is the key to building a smart collection. Even old price guides are a valuable tool in finding out what's available or when it was made. There's a wealth of information available through magazines and the numerous free newsletters on the Internet.

The Companies Behind Our Collectibles

Find out more about the company behind your collectibles. Both current and companies no longer in operation are profiled on this list, as well as well-known auction houses dealing with antiques and collectibles.

Sharing Your Stories, Finds and Collections

Most collectors have a story. Perhaps it's a treasure found buried at a flea market, something given to them that turned out to be valuable or a piece that might not have monetary value, but is worth it's weight in gold for the memories or the person who gifted it.

Read these shared stories and feel free to tell other collectors your treasure hunting stories, pictures of your beloved collections or trash to treasures projects.

Crafts/Decorating/Trash to Treasures

Do you decorate with your collections, use them in craft projects? Or perhaps you love to create treasures from junk and old stuff. Get inspired with these ideas or share your favorite projects.

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