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Safeguarding Your Collectibles

By: Charles Kassotis, Sun Feb 19th, 2006

Are you one of those people who have a valuable gun, china, or doll collection? You know the type: You visit a home and find an amazing selection of items laying around the house or stored in a display area for accessible viewing. It may be the collection began innocently enough, perhaps with a long-ago birthday gift or holiday present. That item became particularly special to its owner, who relished it so much that he decided to start collecting similar pieces to multiply the joy coming from ownership of the prized possession.

It takes many years for most people to build up a sizable collection of objects. As they do, though, it may be tempting to put them on display for others' pleasure, too. But if the collectible pieces are valuable, and especially if they are breakable, the owner would be prudent to take important steps in protecting the expensive collection.

1. Check the authenticity of each piece you plan to purchase for your collection. Unless you are buying from a trusted or approved dealer, you will want to make sure that you are getting the genuine article. Many collectibles come with verification certificates, so if yours doesn't, have it checked out by a professional to be sure it's what you think it is and not a substitute.

2. Keep track of your collection. Don't let anyone borrow from it, or if they do, fill out a card with the person's name and contact information, along with the date it was borrowed and when it should be returned. Describe or number the piece to make it easy to track.

3. Store all items together if possible. Keeping them in the same area or room will make it easier to detect when one goes missing or gets broken. Keep them in an area that is less traveled than others. It should be orderly and neat to help protect collectibles from breakage if someone should stumble or trip or something on the floor or sticking out from a shelf or table.

4. Keep your collection clean. Learn how to take care of collectibles to keep them free of dust, lint, stains, or other potential problems due to mishandling them or sitting a long time in the same place. You may have to buy special polish for jewelry, silverware, or guns, for example, and learn the correct way of keeping them clean.

5. Guide visitors' perusal of the collection. Store the pieces in a locked glass case if you don't want anyone to touch them. You can leave them out in the open, on the other hand, and instruct guests about how to handle or otherwise touch each item.

Keep the container or storage case clean, as well, Prevent kids and pets from playing in the general area of your collection, to avoid possible breakage or damage.

About the author: Learn more about this fun hobby by visiting The Collectible Spot at http://www.collectiblespot.com




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The Cheapest Christmas Ever!

By: Ann Scaling Tucker, Sun Sep 3rd, 2006

Have you ever said "I wish we didn't have to spend so much money on Christmas?" or "I wish we could have Christmas without going into debt!" Well here is your answer - tell your family that next Christmas no one is allowed to buy a new, expensive gift for anyone! Yes, I really said that. Tell them that all presents must be from garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, auctions, handmade or made over.

You really need to start now, or start next spring/summer, hit all the garages sales and auctions that you can. Find items that your family collects, things from sports teams that they like, such as T-shirts with silly sayings, posters, glasses, etc. Pick up craft items that will look cute around someone's home. You can find games for the kids by the carload and puzzles abound for that person who lives to do puzzles. You won't believe how many golf clubs you can find, bicycles, tricycles, baby toys and clothes. You can find records, cassettes and videos (old classics make great gifts). Did you know that a 45 record of Elvis in the cardboard cover was found for a quarter recently and a collector offered the person $150.00 for it. Think how many gifts you can collect over the summer for a quarter to a dollar. The person who collects cats or bears can double their collection just from items you find. You will be amazed at the silly things you can find at garage sales for that special brother, sister or best friend.

Look at items as they will look cleaned up or painted. Pieces of furniture like cabinets, bookcases, dressers can look terrific if sanded and restained or painted the color of someone's room theme. You can make them match by adding wood cutouts, decals, or ornaments. Cute 2 and 3 drawer end tables for playrooms, a home office or kids room can be painted with each drawer a different color or painting stripes. Knobs can be painted or replaced. Old trunks, foot lockers, old part metal suitcases can be made into neat storage or toy boxes. Be sure to fix lids so they won't fall on children when they are open. Decoupage the inside lids and bottoms with wallpaper, newspaper or wrapping paper.

When buying clothes out of season, buy them a little larger for next year. Also if you find a really good buy but it is a little large get it anyway. If it will save you money when the child gets a little larger, it is worth the storage. Bed spreads; comforters and sheets are always found at sales. This is a good buy if you find your color or design. Used sheets, etc., are also great to send off to college, camp or in kids rooms.

Educational toys abound at garage sales. Be sure and ask if they work, even better carry a couple of batteries with you and try them out. Dead batteries are usually the reason toys don't work. If you need to find baby things, go to neighborhoods that tend to have younger families. Older neighborhoods with older homes will have more things since they have had longer to collect. Older or middle aged families will also have good children's furniture such as playpens, high chairs, etc., since they usually have grandchildren who have outgrown these items.

My family did this several years ago and the floor was covered with gifts, hundreds of them. What fun you can have opening something silly or watching the face of a family member as they unwrap a collectible. The people in your family who are crafty can present everyone with a beautiful handmade item that they will treasure for many years. The year we did this we had absolutely NO BILLS, NO CREDIT CARD DEBT or empty bank accounts. Try it one year and you will probably be hooked plus you will be amazed how nice it is to not have to worry about paying for it the rest of the year.

About the author: About the Author: Elizabeth Ann Scaling Tucker is a retired grandmother of 5. She retired after 35 1/2 years with the Department of Defense. In her retirement years, she is a grandchild sitter and an assistant webmaster for family websites. You can see one of the websites at http://www.zoinkies.co m/free-stuff/




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By: Dale Stewart, Tue Nov 15th, 2005

For collectors of any kind, there are always those items that are much sought after, but nearly impossible to find. If they re lucky enough to finally locate them, the price is often exorbitant or there are some other restrictions which inhibit their ability to secure them. With a good deal of patience and persistence, however, even the rarest of these collectibles can be found and purchased without as much difficulty as one might imagine. One simply needs to know where to look.

In the past, people have been pretty much limited to finding rare collectibles at auctions, estate sales and flea markets. Today, much of the searching is done via the internet. Diecast models of all sorts including those which are considered rare can be located with the simple click of the mouse on a major search engine.

Suppose, for a moment, that you re interested in locating a specific Formula One racecar diecast model. By going to an online merchant that specializes in this type of model, you ll be able to choose from among a wide variety of rare or hard-to-find models. An example of a site that would carry such items is www.f1models.biz. If, on the other hand, you re more interested in finding rare diecast models of airplanes from Corgi Aviation, you can visit www.planecrazy.biz.

Should you happen to be looking for a diecast model that s considered to be extremely rare, you may have to find specific companies or individuals that handle objects which specialize in items that were produced in a very limited number. If, for instance, you re hoping to add a 1913 Collector s Edition Ford Model T at a 1/16 scale to your collection, you can find this extremely rare model at www.franklindanbury.com. This is a very hard to find diecast model, and they specialize in Franklin and Danbury Mint cars. The price isn t always listed, and you may have to e-mail them for the pricing information, but some collectors are willing to pay higher prices in order to find that one special piece that would make their collection complete.

Maritime enthusiasts who are looking for a diecast model of the RMS Carmania a very rare Tri-ang ship in 1/1200 scale would find what they re looking for at www.rubylane.com. With a wide variety of models available, you just may find something else that s on your love to have list. Based in the UK, it may require you to pay extra in shipping, and the shipping time may be longer, but will be well worth your while if you can t find the diecast model that you ve been looking for anywhere else.

Regardless of what type of model you re trying to find, there s always a way to find it through an internet search. While auctions, flea markets and the other avenues are still used by some, locating those hard-to-find models online is faster and easier and you may just get a great deal that you wouldn t have found in a brick and mortar environment.

About the author: ******* (c) 2005 Dale Stewart - All Rights Reserved

Dale Stewart is a freelance author and diecast enthusiast.

http://www.DiecastSecrets.com *******




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The Evolution Of Christmas Ornaments

By: Roy Thomsitt, Fri Sep 15th, 2006

Things have come a long way since a Christmas ornament was likely to be just a ball hung by the window, or later on a Christmas tree.

Historians believe that this original Christmas decoration descended from a witch ball. The original purpose of a witch ball was to fend off evil spirits. However, being traditionally glass made, these balls were also very decorative, and people started to see their use for decorating the home. They were great decorations, so they started to move around the house a bit, and the original green colour was varied as time went on. Over the centuries, and gathering pace in the Victorian era, they were made in different colours and sizes, and even the material from which they were made started to be varied.

Also by Victorian times, it became fashionable to decorate the home for Christmas, so Christmas ornaments started to take a hold in Victorian homes. Less concerned about evil spirits, people looked at ornaments as a festive display, a symbol of celebration. Instead of warding off evil spirits, they started to accompany a surge in other spirits, most notably brandy and whisky.

From Victorian times onwards the range has increased steadily. The decorations have been hung in different places too: the mantle, windows, and front door being favourites, as well as the Christmas tree, but there is really no restriction where to hang Christmas ornaments these days. Inside, outside, it no longer seems to matter.

A lot of the increase in the use of Christmas decorations has come from the desire to impress friends, neighbours and family with the decorative display, as well, of course, for one's own enjoyment.

The Christmas ball that was supposed to have been derived from the witch ball, is still a clear favourite of the Christmas ornaments used to decorate the Christmas tree. Over the years Christmas tree balls have been designed in a great variety of colours and finish, with an increasing variety of sparkling balls.

Another favourite for Christmas decorations nowadays are the coloured fairy lights. Flashing coloured lights are often a feature of outside Christmas ornament displays, as well as for the tree and other places inside the house.

It also became quite normal in the 20th century to hang a new type of Christmas ornament on a tree; some sort of food, especially chocolate, that would be covered with a colourful, shiny paper wrapping to add a festive decorative effect. On top of the Christmas tree, a fairy has been a popular adornment over the years, but that has been changing in recent decades, and other Christmas ornaments often now take pride of place at the pinnacle.

As with so many things over the last hundred years, Christmas decorations have just got bigger and better, as well as with a greater variety. Now, in some localities, you will get local communities where house owners go to great lengths to decorate the outside of their homes with giant Christmas ornaments and lighting displays. Some such localities become well known simply for their Christmas display. Even here in the Philippines, some localities become well known in the Christmas season for their exuberant Christmas ornament displays.

For most of us, however, Christmas ornaments are about decorating our own little piece of territory to make Christmas a special occasion for the family, and it is unlikely that that will ever change.

About the author: Roy Thomsitt is owner and part author of http://www.xmas-ornament.com




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