What Do You Collect?
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    What Do You Collect?

    I can’t count the number of times I have been asked that question from a shop
    keeper as they glanced up from a crossword puzzle, paperback novel or
    computer screen. The little bell on the door has just finished its last hushed
    “ding” and the question from obscurity rings out….“what do you collect?”.
    Often, not even knowing where the voice came from, I reply, “nothing”.

      The fact is…neither my husband nor I collect anything! We have been in this
    business since the late 1970’s and we weren’t collectors then. It’s a difficult
    concept for most people to understand since almost everyone collects
    something, especially antiques dealers. Even non-“antiquers”  end up collecting
    something….something they walk into shops seeking out. Often, I have replied
    to “the” question with something I would like to find because it has recently
    gained interest in the marketplace where I sell or I have a specific client for. But
    often that approach back fires because the shop owner thinks I am being too
    picky if what they show me doesn’t fit my criteria. I am generally better off
    leaving them scratching their head when I tell them that I really don’t collect
    anything.

      I have to be honest, there have been many items that we have bought over
    the years, thinking we knew what the trend was, that we ended up owning so
    long that one might think we did collect that type of item! But we have never
    consciously or deliberately bought for a collection and ultimately all of the items
    we’ve bought have been for sale.

     I have to admit that there have been items that I look back at in thought and
    hesitantly wish I still owned, but reality is, having owned it was really good
    enough. There’s the first external, mahogany, wood horned Victor phonograph
    that we painstakingly restored and the one pint ice cream freezer that made two
    flavors at the same time. The pair of salesman sample oak and leather glider
    rocking chairs and the heart shaped peridot and gold necklace that were
    wonderful pieces. But as much as I enjoyed owning these items and regret that I
    don’t see this kind of quality or uniqueness very often, I enjoyed immensely the
    joy that the new owners received when they added these treasures to their
    collections. That is the real pleasure of finding wonderful items.

     So, what do I collect? I collect memories of the collectors that have crossed my
    path, that have added something I felt worthy of owning and that they are happy
    to add to their collections. What better collection can I have?