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
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
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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
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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
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
Dale Stewart is a freelance author and diecast enthusiast.
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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
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
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