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There’s No Right or Wrong Way to Collect

I collect Christmas and Mother’s Day plates made by Royal Copenhagen. Or at least I used to. Today the plates are in a box in the basement, and for that I feel a bit guilty.

The first year I was married my aunt celebrated by giving me a Christmas plate with that year’s date on it. Each succeeding year I’d receive another plate to add to my collection, and when I became a mother, the Mother’s Day plates became gifts as well.

I love the soft blue plates with their delicate scenes of animals, landmarks and country sides. They were proudly displayed on the walls of our first home. But as the years went by, and the collection grew, I became less excited about the small square packages I received every Christmas. My interests were changing.

The same thing happens with coin collectors. While Morgan dollars may beckon a collector early on, it’s not an all unusual to find his tastes drifting toward Liberty quarters a few years down the road. And that’s more than OK.

Time after time after time we hear it said: “Collect what you like.” Whether that be Morgans, Barbers, Mercurys or Lincolns, it doesn’t matter.

Folks call here all the time asking advice on what to collect. How would we know?
The unsaid question is, “What should I collect that will ultimately bring me a profit when I decide to sell it?” If we knew the answer to that, we’d all be retired and living on the interest from our investments.

My husband used to grumble that the money spent on “those plates” was a waste.

“You’re never going to get your money’s worth out of them,” he told me.

But what he didn’t understand is that I didn’t care about the money. I wasn’t ever going to sell them. At the time they looked nice on the walls and matched my blue and red décor. And they were a right of passage from my family acknowledging that I was now a married lady deserving of such gifts.

Today I collect orange Czech vases. It really makes no sense because my house is decorated in cranberry and gold. There is no good place to display them.
But I fell in love with the glassware at an Antique Trader show about seven years ago, and after receiving the first little vase as a gift, I’ve continued to add to my collection. And I’m planning to repaint the bedroom walls this spring to a color that will complement the fiery orange glassware.

Will I ever get my money’s worth out of my glass collection? Probably not. But I don’t spend more than I can afford, and now, right now, I get enjoyment from looking at them.

Isn’t that what collecting is all about? To me, the chance to make a profit is a bonus. As long as I don’t spend the grocery money or the kids’ college funds, I’m doing OK.

Maybe a future daughter-in-law will enjoy them as much as I do. And if I’m lucky, she’ll have just the spot to hang some delicate blue plates.

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