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  #1  
Old 09-04-19, 08:48 PM
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Default Are You A True Collector...?

I realize that perhaps the title of this thread may be somewhat provocative but bear with me and I will explain my reasoning behind the title and hopefully opening up what I think has the potential for an interesting topic of discussion.

Recently I was asked to facilitate a trade between two gentlemen. Nothing to do with badges but the experience is still relevant. Ultimately the deal failed, not because either collector did not want what the other was offering but more so that both parties were of the opinion that 'their' item was actually much more valuable than I felt was reasonable or the market dictated.

This experience got me thinking and especially back to my own experiences in collecting, especially in my youth. I recall 'many' times that in collecting it was the items that got my focus and the monetary value was secondary. If I could afford it, I grabbed it, if I could not, then the money was just an annoying impediment. For me it was the item itself that held all the fascinations, focus and interest, money was simply either an obstacle (if I didn't have it) or something to 'grease the wheels' of a deal. As a result I often ended up paying over the odds for that special piece and almost never 'made money' from it down the road but to me it was 'collecting' that was important and even if I paid a little too much, the joy of 'collecting' it soon had me forget about how much it cost.

Today I seem many collectors using the most annoying phrases like "it owes me" or "I need to get my 'investment' back". If you use such phrases are you really a collectors? Or are you a dealer, an investor or just shrewd?

I write this not to judge anyone but simply to raise the topic for discussion. Are you a true collector? Is it the item itself that brings you joy or is it the prestige of owning it or the money you have wrapped up in it?

I know there are many dealers who are also collectors and I don't want to muddy the waters with that concept here but mearly to insight some of us to think a little about our motivations and share your own thoughts and experiences on this topic.

Cheers,

Roy
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Collecting:

Despatch Rider Insignia & Photographs.
British Militia Buttons.
Shropshire Buttons.

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My website: www.wilkinsonfscollection.com
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  #2  
Old 09-04-19, 09:40 PM
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Hi Roy

I keep buying virtually the same badge and the same button over and over again.

Does that make me a true collector, or is it some sort of mania?

Rob
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  #3  
Old 09-04-19, 10:14 PM
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That's easy Rob,

You're totally barking mate....

Cheers,

Roy
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Despatch Rider Insignia & Photographs.
British Militia Buttons.
Shropshire Buttons.

Author/Dealer in the Fairbairn Sykes Fighting Knife
My website: www.wilkinsonfscollection.com
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  #4  
Old 10-04-19, 12:59 AM
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Interesting points Roy.

I guess the value is what the individual is prepared to pay - whether that’s over or under the accepted odds.

We’ve all gone a little farther than perhaps we should on something we really like, but it’s something I try not to make a habit and wouldn’t recommend - always feels quite vice-like. After all if Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s sell tins of baked beans at 60p, regularly buying them for £1.50 isn’t savvy.. Perhaps not my finest analogy granted as resale value of baked beans probably isn’t established but hopefully makes the point.

Because there is a ‘dealer list price’ or at least a ‘going rate’ badges fall into capitalism and become tantamount to currency. I agree it’s the history behind the badge that should be the real value and fascination but sadly the world in which we live means that at least one eye will be on £ signs.

I agree it’s often the ‘investment hunters’ who seem to have an inflated opinion on what everything is worth and push up the prices for us mere mortals.

But even without money and putting a figure on a badge there’s still the rarity scale which itself acts as a value. Only a fool would swap an ORs GvR RE badge (no matter if it was the nicest one in the world) for say a Kitcheners Fighting Scouts slouch hat badge. One there’s tens of thousands of and the other perhaps a few hundred (if that) left, that in effect is a value even if not putting a monetary number on it. I’m sure even if both parties were happy with such a trade there would be a lot of collectors felling the chap with the RE badge had ‘done over’ the owner of the KFS, perhaps to the point of criminality!

So long as what’s being asked is reasonable and it doesn’t fall into the GREED category (like the 1916 eco Leinster that’s been floating around eBay for the last month at £150) then I think it’s natural there will be higher and lower values depending on the item and it’s condition etc.

Re the two gentlemen and their trade as Shakespeare wrote ‘who will not change a raven for a dove’, if each party felt they’re getting a raven but losing a dove that’s their opinion - they can’t really have wanted the badge on offer as much as their current badge.

Cheers,

Luke
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  #5  
Old 10-04-19, 03:22 AM
Lancer 17 Lancer 17 is offline
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G'day Roy

Great discussion points.

I believe that Im a collector and I do so in many areas that are not military. I have a friend of some 50 years standing in the scout badge collecting area who Always has to come out on top in a trade and I have and I know that others have just walked away from him as a trade just cant be made.

It depends if the item being sought fits into a special field, ie in my case 17th Lancers, I will pay more for an item that I really want as against lets say an Hussar item (sorry Hussar collectors, just an example !) that whilst I would like it, Im not prepared to pay what I consider to be too much. One has to be selective as money doesn't grow on trees as they say.

As I don't sell badges etc, there is no investor aspect to my collecting.

Hope that this helps and lets see where the discussion goes.

And a pat or 2 for Lilly.

Regards

Phil.
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  #6  
Old 10-04-19, 06:58 AM
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I would certainly swap you an ORs GvR RE badge for a Kitchener's Fighting Scouts slouch hat badge, how many RE badges do you need and how many KFS badges can you let go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke H View Post

But even without money and putting a figure on a badge thereís still the rarity scale which itself acts as a value. Only a fool would swap an ORs GvR RE badge (no matter if it was the nicest one in the world) for say a Kitcheners Fighting Scouts slouch hat badge. One thereís tens of thousands of and the other perhaps a few hundred (if that) left, that in effect is a value even if not putting a monetary number on it. Iím sure even if both parties were happy with such a trade there would be a lot of collectors felling the chap with the RE badge had Ďdone overí the owner of the KFS, perhaps to the point of criminality!

Cheers,

Luke
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  #7  
Old 10-04-19, 07:48 AM
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I'm with Phil (Lancer17), I collect for the sheer enjoyment of it, and most of all I enjoy the research aspect. Sometimes that's the whole interest.

I don't sell badges, rarely buy them in fact unless its something I specifically want for the collection - and if I think it's too much I'll walk away, it's just not that important.

On the other hand there is a obsessive collector down here whose collection of Tasmanian insignia, pre and post Federation, is fantastic. But for him everything has a dollar value - unless he's buying it then he wants it for much less than he would sell it at. However, ask him when that particular badge was worn he'll just look blankly at you - he wouldn't have a clue unless somebody else told him, and he wouldn't sit down and research it. He's in it for the adulation, the oohs and aahs when people see his collection. He'll hoover up anything he sees for resale, and a bag of badges sitting on his desk is not insignia, it's a "...$3000 bag of badges over there...".

I couldn't collect like that, can't see the point.

Keith
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  #8  
Old 10-04-19, 08:08 AM
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Part of my button collection is reaching a stage where there are only a few gaps left, when one of the missing ones comes up for auction I tend to obsess over it all week, then bid a bit more than I want too pay, and then if I'm lucky enough to win it, it arrives I cross it off my wants list, record a few details in a spread sheet, put it on a card in a draw and then not look at it again.

And when it comes to selling off spares I offer them up at much less than dealers charge and it takes years to sell them.

There's definitely something wrong here, probably with me.

Rob
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  #9  
Old 10-04-19, 10:00 AM
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Pre internet button collectors like me had a geographical restriction. Knowledge came from books and letters. Mail order lists were scarce. Gaps were filled when you came across a button and regular swaps with friends were on a one to one basis. It did not matter if a particular swap was unequal, because over time the total value of swapped buttons would level out. Your friend offered a button found in his region and took one you had found. It gave me one of these wide, low value, junk collections.

Since the internet collectors compete for items worldwide. I tried switching to unmapped territories, but it does not take long before they are being discovered by other collectors.
Swapping has come to an end. As Roy wrote a 'one-time trade' is hard to balance. Collectors have also become very demanding. They want this and that and more. They demand items I find once in 30 years and offer items I can find once in 10 years.

Collecting has become a very private hobby.
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  #10  
Old 10-04-19, 01:40 PM
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Hi Gents,

Thank you for your comments thus far, some very interesting points and many shared experiences.

As an Englishman living abroad and in often remote locations, I have benefited from the 'internet age' as going to shows or meeting fellow collectors is often not an option. However I do miss the shows and meeting up with folks. Like many I started off swapping badges in the playground at school (circa 1970's).

I think what I miss the most is the shear enthusiasm that seems laking in some collecting circles and what I dislike the most is the almost blinkered selfishness approach for 'acquisition' in and of itself as apposed to collecting for it's enjoyment as it's own thing.

Many years ago I was asked by a collector to 'appraise his collection' (not badges), to my surprise he had a (relative) huge quantity of items but knew almost nothing about them and had forgotten many of the items he had acquired. It seemed all he had done was to throw vast amounts of money over a a decade to acquire as large a collection as possible just to say 'look at how big and important MY collection is'.

On a positive note and although I miss the days when one could sit down with a friend to share a recent discovery and chat about all it's facets, we do have that here on the forum, al be it remotely, it does provide is with a place to do this and for that I'm grateful.

Cheers,

Roy
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Collecting:

Despatch Rider Insignia & Photographs.
British Militia Buttons.
Shropshire Buttons.

Author/Dealer in the Fairbairn Sykes Fighting Knife
My website: www.wilkinsonfscollection.com
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  #11  
Old 10-04-19, 03:53 PM
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Hi all

My collecting sphere has narrowed over the years to the point where I don't purchase many items except ones to fill the odd gap or items that are hard to come by and I really want in my collection. This has allowed me to spend more researching the items I do purchase and giving them more attention and appreciation. I will often spend more than I probably should to get that certain badge, but it's worth it to me. I've never really give much thought to selling items on, except if I have doubles, and I've never made a profit, I don't think. Almost all my badges are framed and on the walls of my house. I might not have the largest collection, but I'm proud of it, and it gives me enjoyment. Even more so now, when I search for the more elusive ones, and get to research them properly.
Living where I do, I don't know of any others around collecting to what I do, so the forum has been invaluable to me. I've been fortunate to make a few friends on here and we discuss the hobby and/or individual badges and give each other heads up's if something pops up on ebay, etc.

Cheers

Colin
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  #12  
Old 10-04-19, 04:12 PM
Beaker123 Beaker123 is offline
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Hello Roy,
Slightly off topic but noticing your collecting interests reminds me that when I started 'collecting' one of my early buys was a British WW2 despatch riders overcoat that I bought in the early 70s from a junk shop for 50p. This thing was HUGE and the weight of it! Even at 12 or 13, when I got it, I was above average height for my age this coat seemed to tower over me. And it was so stiff it could almost stand up without support or scaffolding.

My mother wasn't impressed with it and even though I long got rid of it - she still isn't!

Unless I chose to live in it, it was far too BIG to keep as an investment.

Steve
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  #13  
Old 10-04-19, 04:23 PM
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Charliedog012012 Charliedog012012 is offline
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It is frustrating at times to see a badge which I would love to own but it is way out of my reach financially. However, to me the joy in collecting is researching the history of a badge and the Regiment it represents. Some badges are really things of beauty and the craftsmanship in the design and their production is at times stunning. Some almost take your breath away. To own these wonderful things is a real joy. To finally own a badge one has wanted and searched for a long long time is brilliant....it is not an investment to be stuck in a drawer until the price goes up. It has a story to tell.
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  #14  
Old 10-04-19, 09:54 PM
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Well gents all very interesting , but I have collected over 40yrs and know of some high end collectors and some have very deep pockets so if a item is needed and is available no problems , but I for one dont have to deep a pocket so if some thing needs to go to buy another item then i would like to get my spend back and if possible make a small margin then great ,but that does not happen very often. So yes a collector at heart ,love to research what I buy but I am also a realist .

Rob
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  #15  
Old 11-04-19, 02:33 PM
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Hi Gents,

Some interesting and thought provoking perspectives and stores being shared, thank you.

I know from my own lifelong experiences of collecting my perspectives have shifted, no doubt due to experiences (both good and bad). I don't believe there is just one way to approach anything and it's reasonable for one to put their own unique and personal twist on what works for them.

I have always gotten a tremendous sense of satisfaction from creating a collection be it large, small, valuable or relatively trivial (to some) but collecting is in my blood and has always been something to enjoy and get excited about.

As has been mentioned by many, it's the research and education that has always been a significant factor in that enjoyment for me. The discovery of not just the item itself but the 'secrets' you can unlock through study really speak to me and I suspect to many here.

My recent experience of two gentlemen who were unable to agree a deal was not awful by any means but it did highlight (to me at least) how our own hyper focus on the monetary side and sometimes desperate need to 'come out on top' can often be an impediment to our own passions.

I know I'm not alone here in having benefited from the wonderful generosity of forum members. And I hope I have too passed that along in having sold some great badges/buttons for a fraction of what I paid for them and even just giving them away at times as it felt it was the right thing to do. Such acts I feel (where appropriate or possible) will always serve us and our hobby well and serve to insert a sense of decency and good will into this often selfish and challenging world we live in.

Cheers,

Roy
__________________
Collecting:

Despatch Rider Insignia & Photographs.
British Militia Buttons.
Shropshire Buttons.

Author/Dealer in the Fairbairn Sykes Fighting Knife
My website: www.wilkinsonfscollection.com
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