Collecting Dog Memorabilia
LIKE ALL PEOPLE passionate about their hobby, many dog lovers are voracious collectors of anything “dog” and more particularly any object with relevance to the breed they fancy.
Whether they are interested in books, trophies, antiques, paintings, ephemera, figurines, porcelain, plates, stuffed toys, postcards and photos, needlework … all are fair collectible game with purchases dictated to only by the abundance of a collector’s bank account. And even if that is lean, many collectors will make considerable sacrifices to own a coveted piece.
If you’ve just started along the dog memorabilia collecting track, it probably won’t be long before you are thoroughly hooked and have embraced a niche you are destined to follow fervently.
Here are some hints for those of you new to collecting dog memorabilia:
● Start with the breed or breed group you are interested in. This will keep you focused in the beginning and help you build up an admirable collection. Be prepared to discover a sub-niche that will set you off in another direction.
● Buy what you love. If your budget is restricted you can start with small pieces of ephemera, for example, postcards, photos, programs and the like. In all honesty you can find yourself owning some valuable pieces of paper. Later you can build on these themes. If you simply buy what you love, you will enjoy living with it.
● Be prepared for the collecting bug to take you along some varied roads. I started off collecting antique photographs of dogs sitting up, begging. A number of these dogs were dressed and I was soon collecting dressed dogs as well. Then I noticed several of these dogs were smoking, so another sub-category was added to my collection. Many of these old dogs had ornate collars with beautiful tags. Before long I was adding dog license tags to the collection and on it goes!
● Sell the pieces you lose interest in. Fortunately, with the advent of the internet and sites such as eBay, we can easily sell pieces if our collecting interests change. This makes it even more important to buy good pieces and to buy what you love (just in case it doesn’t sell).
● Learn what you can about the category you collect in. Look up reference books at your library, or you can buy second-hand reference material online. And, of course, the reference books themselves often become collectible! As your knowledge increases with research you are more likely to start spotting bargains that you may have overlooked in the past, or that have been missed by less educated buyers. You are also more inclined to spot emerging collecting niches that are still reasonably priced because of low demand.
● Display your collection for others to enjoy. If it gets too large, be disciplined and sell off some lesser pieces. I know a collector who strictly stays with a maximum of 100 items. When she sees something she wants she weighs up whether it is better than the 100 she already owns. If it is better, she buys it and, with the self-discipline of a saint, sells a less-desired piece in her collection, thus always keeping the balance of 100 objects.
● Dog memorabilia is one area where garage sales, tag sales and flea markets are still promising hunting grounds. Let’s say you collect wire-haired terrier types. You are very likely to find them represented in many areas such as books, toys, craftwork, kitchenware, linen, ornaments, garden features and more. All these areas are well represented in small garage/tag sales. If you find something you like, don’t hesitate to ask the sale-holder if they have other similar pieces. You might just jog their memory and finish up with a real treasure.
● Talk, talk and tell everyone you come across about your collecting fetish. You will be surprised how often people recall an aunt or friend who is throwing out just the sort of things you collect.
Of course the most important thing is to enjoy what you are collecting. Nothing beats the thrill of finally owning a coveted object and displaying it in your home. Your collecting interests are quite simply an extension of your love for your dogs … you should get almost equal pleasure from them.
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