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I've always been a collector but began seriously collecting when I was in my 30's. I am now 67 and have amassed a variety of collectibles. When I was very young my parents would not let me own a knife; when I became an adult I truly enjoyed being able to buy any type of knife that I wished. I now own a collection of antique knife-tool sets, mostly German and some American, a comprehensive collection of vintage Imperial and Colonial American knives and a small collection of vintage Gerber knives. I was always fascinated by paperweights and what started with about 8-10 now has evolved into a collection of likely 100 or more. Many are by the now closed Gentile factory of West Virginia, some are Kosta Swedish weights, others are studio weights by Eickholt and many other very talented glass artists. A wonderful Orrefors Lancelot bowl received as a company yearly gift award was the beginning of my fascination with Swedish glass. I now have somewhere near 60-70 samples of vintage Swedish art glass, many vases and bowls, some paperweights and some freeform sculptures -- a large percentage have exquisite engravings by some of the most renown Swedish artists. Over many years my visits to many thrift and consignment stores have filled up most of my wall space with paintings, cast paper art, Navajo sand paintings and beautiful lithographs. Don't ask me about pepper mills, I found my first vintage Dansk teak mill in an antique mall for $3.00 and now have an assorted collection of pepper mills of all types; my favorites are the brass Turkish grinders that have etchings on the exterior.
When I moved to my first home it was rather bare and I began buying display stands and display boxes from thrift stores. When these display stands were filled up I purchased four large bookcases at a yard sale. Most of my Orrefors glass collection had been safely stored in cardboard packing boxes and not on display; when the four bookcases became full I finally decided that I had to slow down on my collecting.
I often felt guilty about having so many collectibles and reluctantly decided to sell some of them on eBay. I refuse to part with them at "wholesale" prices and will attempt to retrieve at least what I paid for these and if possible earn a realistic profit. Having built up some expertise in collectibles I purchased most of my collectibles at very low prices and plan to use their sales to fund my retirement years.
My house being so full of collectibles sometimes made me feel as if I was living in a museum and that I was the curator. A part of me felt guilty that instead of being a collector I had become a hoarder. This is where YouTube came to my rescue. I started watching some of the many YouTube videos showing the disastrous lifestyles of true hoarders. After watching these videos I was under the impression that these people may have begun as collectors but at some point they crossed the fine line and became collectors of "junk" and "trash." The difference between a collector and a hoarder seems to be based on several factors: 1) the items that true hoarders collect usually have no realistic resale value, 2) hoarders lose sight of cleanliness and organization which results in their living space being full of empty pizza boxes, old newspapers, empty food cans, etc. etc. and 3) true hoarders develop a mysterious attachment to their piles of junk and trash and a phobia about discarding almost anything.
I now feel significantly better about my variety of collections and have learned to respect my responsibility as curator for my museum.