Over the years I have created collections of a variety of items including design books, advertising characters, salt and pepper shakers, cookie jars, character teapots, advertising signage, cowboy collectibles, art, fish-related items and more. Supposedly a moratorium has been placed on my "stuff gathering" activities, but I am still able to occasionally sneak an item into the house unnoticed until a much later date. Thankfully, friends are always happy to contribute to my habit and then I can't be blamed for the new additions.
Not long ago I realized that I don't have an archive of the sometimes very valuable items and, if for no other reason, I should have complete record for insurance purposes. The process of recording my collections began with starting to catalog the 300+ design books I have acquired since my high school senior year of 1974 - and that is still continuing. The ongoing spring cleaning of my home studio has required carefully dusting or cleaning many of my collectible items. While fresh and shiny, the inanimate objects have been pleased to pose (and many of them do look like they are posing) for my camera.
I'm never completely alone while working in my design studio. About 20 years ago I started collecting advertising character figures - beginning with Bob's Big Boy items. I've found items such as Snap, Crackle and Pop, Tony the Tiger, Sprout, Mr. Bubble,, Bibendum (The Michelin Man), Fred Fossil and many others in antique shops, at garage sales and flea markets, and on eBay. At one point my collecting got so out of control I was on a first name basis with the UPS man who was delivering my online purchases. The amassing of advertising characters came to a crawl when I ran out of room in my office. I think I have over 200 of the little figures. I'll eventually find out the size of collection as I continue the cleaning and mug shots.
Rather than just hoarding items for one's personal pleasure, I do think collections should be shared with others. Online sites such as Flickr and Facebook have provided me an opportunity to initially share small portions of the results of my habit. At this point 60 of my advertising characters and 28 sets of advertising-related salt and pepper shakers are getting a little public exposure. I've also started another advertising character album.
One of the interesting aspects of collecting is getting to learn the stories behind the collectible items. Many others share the collecting "bug' and have written about a wide variety of items gathering dust in people's homes and places of work. My collection of advertising characters has provided a great education about the company histories of the businesses and products represented, through books such as Meet Mr. Product, What a Character!, Advertising Character Collectibles and others. If you are collecting something, you can be sure that someone has written a book on the item.
As my cleaning, and archiving, frenzy continues I will post links to future galleries of collectible images. Have fun collecting out there!
(Images: Top - Mr. Bubble, 1990; Center - Millie & Willie, Kool Cigarettes, 1950's; Bottom: Nugget Sam, The Nugget Casino - Carson City, NV, 1950's)
© 2007 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives