The Art Of Collecting

Collecting 2Every boy, of every age, must have a hobby! Whether it be photography, matchbox labels, autograph hunting or butterfly catching it should serve to enhance the education and, more importantly, keep the little horrors quiet for a few hours.

This article comes from the ‘Eagle Book for Boys’ circa 1966. Although open to all, hobbies were in many ways organised along gender centric lines, the boys being more adventurous, while the girls followed more home based pursuits. A different time.

Sadly such pursuits have diminished in recent years. Collecting 1The advent of the computer game and the easy access to all sorts of eclectic and diverse information on the web has made such things rather pointless. But be that as it may, I still have my matchbox label collection, a ton of old coins from around the globe, a couple of antique volumes of ‘tea’ cards and a sorely neglected stamp album.

The cigarette cards are an anomaly of the time. Cigarette companies would add picture cards to their product as collectibles. An early example of product placement possibly. If a series of cards were only obtainable from one brand of cigarettes then the Collecting 3collector, or their loving parent, would need to consistently buy that brand to complete the collection. Bubble gum, football and movie cards followed in various formats but all were intended to satisfy the ‘collecting’ bug.

I’m not too sure if catching butterflies is still legal or even ethical these days and it does smack of mild barbarism at best!

I still have the book collecting bug, I can spend days wandering around second-hand bookshops and in more recent years charity shops in search of interesting volumes!

Collecting 5Indeed, I still have a collection of cameras bought over the years that includes an ancient box brownie and a bellows fronted example inherited from a grandparent.

My matchbox label collection, begun at an early age when an uncle entrusted me with his own boyhood collection, now amounts to some 1,400 items carefully mounted in old photograph albums.

So if there’s anybody out there interested in sharing a few doubles or would consider swapsies . . .

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