Some people keep them to preserve history or to connect with the past, others may be motivated by their status or monetary value, and still others may become obsessed with or are just curious about the objects they acquire. My reasons? Nostalgia, beauty, and fun usefulness! Throughout my childhood, I was a conchologist, memomagnetist, and perhaps a discophile. Summers spent on sandy beaches piqued my interest in collecting seashells. Each one brought back memories of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, or Misquamicut Beach. I lost interest in this treasure trove when they began to smell too fishy. Collecting refrigerator magnets was entertaining for a while, but ended when the space on our family fridge was filled. And my collection of 45s? I can’t recall their fate, but during my teen years all money earned from part-time jobs was spent on those seven-inch polystyrenes that at one point were stacked two-feet high!
Today, I am a deltiologist, receptarist, and penophile, as well as a collector of items without fancy names. Those would include perfume bottles, shopping bags, and bookmarks. As a deltiologist I’ve accumulated 300+ postcards from places near and far. Glossy 4 x 6s of Oberammergau, Germany, Versailles, France and Bridgetown, Bardados are included in this assortment, alongside ones from Aiken, South Carolina, Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Santa Barbara, California. All have sentimental value, reminding me of pleasant vacations and time spent with family and friends. Nostalgia is also the reason for my accumulation of 50+ bookmarks. I hold on to them to remember our travels, as well as the people who have given them to me. Here’s a shout out to Imelda and Ellen who frequently add to this collection! Thank you!
My love of cooking has resulted in my ownership of countless cookbooks, and file folders full of print outs, index cards, and scraps of paper bearing ingredients and instructions, deeming me a receptarist – a keeper of recipes. How many do I have? Thousands, at least! This collection along with my dozens of pens, and shopping bags are what I consider to be in my fun and useful category. I hold on to them, use them, and I absolutely enjoy each and every one of them. Now, as far as my collection based on beauty, that belongs to my perfume bottles. Each is unique and pretty to look at. My first perfume bottle actually contained Chanel No. 5, a gift from Robert years ago. Since then, others have given them to me as presents and when traveling I’m always on the look out for one to take home with me. Some bottles are works of art, some are odd-shaped, some are brightly colored, and all are special to me. And this assemblage that I have on display, is one that can belong to the wistful attention to the past group, too. Every bottle has a story to tell of a time and a place.
From my journal: December 27, 2011 in Lee, Massachusetts
“Donna gave me the most beautiful purple perfume bottle for my upcoming 50th birthday! Can’t wait to add it to my collection…just love it!“
Curious, I wondered, what do others collect? I did a little digging and was not surprised by the most common items people accumulate. They include vinyl records, coins and currency, dolls and toys, antique furniture, stamps, trading cards, comic, fine jewelry, art, and wine. But what about off-beat objects? Among them, McDonald’s restaurant paraphernalia, banana stickers, coca-cola cans, traffic cones, erasers, toothbrushes, water bottle labels, bras, back scratchers, and air sick bags! Eew! I also got a kick out of the names for certain collectors. See how many you know. What do sucrologists collect? Little sugar packets from restaurants, of course! Match book collectors are phillumenists. Pannapictagraphists stockpile comic books, whereas vexillophiles collect and display flags. People who hold on to dolls are plangonologists, and one that I’d definitely file under unusual are what tyrosemiophiles are passionate about, and that is labels from Camembert cheese!
Collecting can be a lot of fun and a great way to relive fond memories, learn more about interesting items, invest in valuable objects, and even show your loyalty to a team or country. Another benefit is that spending time around prized possessions is thought to relieve stress which helps us to relax and unwind. Who wouldn’t want that? And, if you happen to be a connoisseur, enthusiast, or aficionado of any kind of objects, please let me know. I’d love to hear about your collections and what they mean to you. Perhaps, it’ll inspire me or someone else to start another!