Collectors’ items

Collecting is programmed in your genes and I don’t think you ever get over it. My mother scoured junk shops for pretty old china and, for years, I did the same. Kitchen utensils, books, art glass, miniature furniture – you name it, I’ve collected it. Lately, I’ve settled on clothes, with a shoe collection to rival Imelda Marcos’. What’s your weakness?

Creating a collection

It doesn’t matter what you choose as your subject, creating a collection can be huge fun. It gives you a sense of purpose as you go about your everyday life, looking in all kinds of odd places for an unexpected source of treasure. The advent of the internet has opened up a world of possibilities that didn’t exist when I started collecting. Nowadays you can exchange goods with other collectors all over the world and often become friends in the process. International payment and delivery methods are better, faster and safer too.

A bit of blue

The beauty of collecting blue-and-white china is that you can combine old and new for a sensational effect at home. Sure, there are vases from the Ming Dynasty for hundreds of thousands of dollars at top auction houses, but there are also old plates from a late nana’s kitchen cupboard for sale at your local charity shop and when you put all your pieces together, nobody will know what’s expensive and what’s cheap and cheerful!

Of course this applies to any kind of China. Smart white items in different shapes can look stunning too, if you group them together with flair.

Art of glass

The glassware of the 20th century still looks as good today as the day it was made. Bright colours and curly shapes are some of the distinctive features of this particular type, but if you prefer straighter lines and more regular shapes, there’s plenty to be found in that genre too.

Art glass looks wonderful in groups of similar styles and colours. If you have a wall unit or bookcase that can be lit from above it will look even better.

Mirror mirror

There are so many mirrors around it makes sense to zero in on one particular style if you choose this as your new favourite collectable. Here, the home-owner has gone for round mirrors, hunting them down in junk shops, antique stores and via Trade oe. Always let friends and family know what you’re collecting so they can look out for you too. It makes Christmas and birthday gift-buying simple if you know of something the recipient will love.

Kitchen cool

Collectors of vintage kitchenware will often tell you that the thing they value most is the strong sense of history that comes with these well-worn items. We know Kiwi women have always been strong and resourceful, and this gives each piece a real sense of history. Think of all the soups she stirred with that spoon, the pavlovas she whisked and the pots she scrubbed. Honouring old kitchenware with a special place in your home is the ultimate tribute to our hardworking forebears!

Tip: Small-town flea markets and car boot sales can be fertile hunting grounds for keen collectors.

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