How to Start a Collection

An informed collector is a happy collector. Know what you’re buying and the best price before you purchase the item.

1. Figure out what kind of items or genre of items you are interested in collecting, or determine if you already have three or more of a certain object. You may have begun a collection without knowing it.

2. Subscribe to collecting magazines or newsletters that are devoted to your object(s) of interest.

3. Purchase books and do the research required to become an expert in your subject of interest. It will save you money in the long run because you’ll recognize bargains and rip-offs when you see them.

4. Allocate a space in which to store the collection. It’s best if this space is easily viewed so that you can enjoy the fruits of your obsession. Purchase display cases or shelves if necessary.

5. Set a budget so you don’t spend too much money on the collection.

6. Use the Internet or newsletters to form a loose network with other collectors and sellers.

7. Thoroughly research each item before you purchase it.

8. Keep a ledger listing your contacts, the items in your collection and the date and cost of purchase.


Monitor online auction sites, such as eBay, to find out general price ranges and typical rates.

Let family and friends know that you are starting a collection. It will help them come up with gift ideas for you.

Many collections can be assembled or started without making special purchases with items such as matchbooks, bottle caps, seashells or pinecones.