We recently collected pictures and stories about our readers’ greatest collections, and the results were fascinating. Eyelashes, whiskers, cocktail sticks, you guys have some incredible interests, and we want to hear about more! Check out the original article below, and then tell us about your collection here in the forums!
I have two collections that might be considered fairly unique:
(Pre-)vintage era Finnish-language textbooks and grammars of the English language.
The cut-off is about 1960 or so, but in practice based on the physical size of the volume and lack of color illustrations. I haven’t officially been collecting English readers, but some of the books I have now are of that sort (with vocabulary and/or grammar sections in Finnish). They are in no particular order in this photo.
Front-page headlines about the weather from Finnish daily news tabloids.
Finland has two major news tabloids (Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti), both published 6 times a week. Sometime within the last 10-15 years or so (I’ve only been living here for 5 but noticed this while digging through archives), their editors got the idea that since people love talking about the weather, they could sell papers by putting weather-related items on the front page, even when there are plenty of other newsworthy topics they could highlight.
Since Summer 2015 it’s been part of my daily routine to snap a photo of the front page or newsstand poster if I see a weather headline, and posting it online along with an English translation and/or commentary. The collection currently has about 570 posts (there’s an occasional post that doesn’t show a headline from those 2 papers, or is slightly off-topic, but also many posts where I address both paper’s headlines at once).
You can find the collection here: Tabloid Weather
The following screenshot of one months’ worth of weather headlines might give you an idea of just how frequent they can be:
Whoa! Those are gorgeous. I had no idea they could get so ornate!
Tabloid Weather is amazing.
Ah! I didn’t know there was a name—tap bells—for something I’ve seen my entire life. Are these mostly from hotels? They’re lovely!
Thanks! They were used in hotels, shops, and homes (to summon servants), and some were sold as souvenirs.
Neither did I when I started collecting…
I love those tap bells! I personally have 20+ different LED welcome signs in my home… I’m well on my way to starting my own strange collection.
I collect way too many things. Books and antique photos are what I collect the most. Within my book and photo collections there are smaller more specified collections such as paperbacks with covers by the author and illustrator Edward Gorey, or cabinet card photos with fanciful photographers marks on the back.
I love seeing everyone’s collections!
Like most kids, I was always picking up ‘found’ items in nature - rocks, seashells, feathers, old wasp nests, fossils, animal bones. I was four years old when my family went to Florida, and of all the souvenirs available, I begged my parents to buy me a dried starfish and seahorse. I think that’s when I started seriously collecting and displaying my items rather than carrying them around in my pockets.
I never outgrew my fascination with nature. I still collect all of those things, along with some ‘ethical taxidermy’ . I have several curio cabinets full - my family calls them my ‘cabinets of dead things’. I suppose it’s your run-of-the-mill Victorian cabinet of curiosities.
This photo was taken many years ago, but I like that you can easily see some of my favorite things in it: A taxidermied rat, a badger fetus, vials of tiny animal bones from dissecting owl pellets, and the old starfish and seahorse that started it all.
4-Leaf clovers… I started collecting them as a kid, and continue to this day 60+ years later. I used to find them when riding my pony. I would see them, jump off and run back to pick it, much to my sister’s astonishment. I have over 150 of them, plus 11 5-leaf clovers and one 7-leaf clover. Sadly, the only luck they seem to have brought me is to be lucky to find 4-leaf clovers.
Atlas Obscura officially endorses Cabinets of Dead Things. Wonderful collection!
Sadly, the only luck they seem to have brought me is to be lucky to find 4-leaf clovers.
Ha! Love the story and this photo!
There is an organization for all all we fellow collectors of this that and the other thing . . . . The Ephemera Society of America. http://www.ephemerasociety.org/
Radio station bumper stickers. I started collecting them in the mid-1980s along with magnets, keychains, t-shirts, business cards…anything with a radio station logo on it. I’ve never counted them but would estimate there to be around 17,000 decals at this point. The containers in the picture are stickers from the United States and Canada alphabetized by station call letter. There are also bins of foreign stickers as well as boxes of oddball items like beach balls, balloons, condoms, pennants, pens, pins, mugs, lanyards, air fresheners and on and on. Awhile ago I started a blog to display some of the collection. Every day for almost ten years I’ve scanned and posted at least one sticker along with some brief information about the station.
I don’t know where the line between hobby and obsession is but I may have crossed it.
This is so cool.
Hi all. New member, so forgive any missteps I may make along the way.
My older brother once told me that I collect collections. He’s not wrong. Over the years it’s mostly been the usual suspects; physical media be it VHS tapes, laser discs, DVDs, blu-rays, laser discs again, books, comics, that sort of thing. Obviously the rarer or harder to find the more coveted.
I also collect nostalgia, regardless of how it presents itself. When I was 11 I started sending fan letters to the artist PUSHEAD after seeing his art in THRASHER and lo and behold- he wrote back. For a kid that’s pretty much everything. 33 years later, I collect toys and artwork from him. They’re slightly pricer than a $4 copy of Thrasher, but every time I walk into my bedroom and see original pieces by someone I’ve had a three decade relationship with- totally worth it. I also have original art from Xno, Mike Diana, Coop and a few assorted other artistic trouble makers.
My primary collection is what’s monopolized the majority of my life- archiving, preserving and documenting materials relating to the Western resurgence of body art, ritual and modification from the 1970s-199s. (after that… we kind of ruined things) Photos, videos, ephemera as well as traveling to meet the pioneers, visionaries and eccentrics who were piercing, tattooing, cutting and otherwise altering/playing with their bodies when it wasn’t a played out meme or trope.
I’ve been involved with documenting via zines (early 1990s) and websites like BME, SPC, Scarwars, Occult Vibrations and Sacred Debris (which was also the name of the early 1990s zine- twenty years in a circle!) for longer than I should have been. I’d share links, but some of it is incredibly NSFW, so I’ll save that for folks who want to search it out.
Anyhoodle- great to be here!
Thanks for joining us! Your collections sound awesome. I used to love zines (Murder Can Be Fun was definitely a spiritual inspiration for Atlas Obscura)!