Wandering around toy fairs, flea markets and swap meets is something I have been brought up with. I think I was about eight when my Dad first took me to such an event, and by the time I was in my early teens, Dad had ensured that I was well versed in the etiquette of toy hunting i.e. meander, never rush around; never point at anything on a stall so that no one else can see what you are looking at; and always whisper to ensure no one overhear!
Travelling around all parts of this country of ours and attending fairs in a variety of venues, most of the collectors were just like Dad and me – ordinary! We loved our hobby and loved to learn. We enjoyed talking to stall holders and other buyers, and we gained a lot of friends along the way.
But in amongst this gang of “ordinary folk” we observed several other kinds of collectors – who had traits and characteristics very unlike my Dad and me.
Do you recognise any of these 10 different types of collectors?
- The Newbie – can often be overheard asking questions such as “Do they still make Dinky toys?”. This is through no fault of their own. We all have to start somewhere, and I like hearing these questions because what kind of collector does like to pass on knowledge?
- The Rummager – usually can be seen on their knees going through every item in the box of the floor that’s usually labelled all items 50p. Manages to cause an obstruction in the walkway. Usually hunting for a rare Redline!
- The Obsessive – has to have one of every model in the range, every box, every variant. Normally displays signs of nervousness since they haven’t yet got the latest release or haven’t managed to purchase an item within the first two minutes of attending the swapmeet.
- The Know it All – loud voice can be overheard in the next town or county. Brags about the size of his collection; won’t listen to anyone else; his collection is always big, better, more varied than yours; has every diecast ever produced from every country; doesn’t listen; it is impossible to tell him anything!
- The Ummm…er…I’ll think about it – cant normally make a decision on what to purchase even when offered fantastic deals; seen regularly in the front of the crowd around a stall; often never glances up; asks to look at everything on the stall and when asked if they’d like to purchase invariably ends the conversation with, “umm, err , I’ll think about it” – 99.9% guaranteed never to return.
- The Big Bagger – always someone who wanders around the hall carrying an enormous bag. Can sometimes be a rucksack. Constantly opening and closing the bag – flaying elbows everywhere hinder your access and cause personal injury! Despite discreet attempts you can never see what’s contained in the bag the Big Bagger is hauling. Bag is very often heavier than the Bagger themselves and for that reason the Big Bagger usually tends to stoop or lean to the side where his shoulder strap hangs from.
- The Reminiscers – normally seen wandering around aimlessly in pairs. Aged either in early 40’s or late 60’s. Can be new to collecting or have extensive knowledge of the industry. Call to each other using phrases such as
“I had one of those”
“Do you remember them as a kid?”
“We could never afford that when I was young”
“Why don’t they make them again?”
“Kids today eh?”
- The Missionary – no one can stop this fella. He is on a mission – nothing and no one stands in his way. Oblivious to everything and everyone. He will knock you down, push you out of the way, dive into your conversation, or kick you in the groin to get what he has in his collecting sights (which is commonly s**t and you wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole!).
- The Secret Agent – difficult to spot at first but once you’ve seen him you will spot him everywhere…and I mean everywhere. He’s behind you at every stall; he eavesdrops on conversations picking up snip bits of what he thinks is valuable or time sensitive information; he picks up every model you’ve just handled. Is he following me you ask yourself as paranoia slowly creeps in. Has the knack of getting into your psyche for the duration of the fair as you constantly ask yourself, where do I know him from?
And finally, I was unsure to include this kind of collector for fear of offending anyone….what what the heck!!!!
- The Hummer – Often walks around on his own. Always remains within arms distance from anyone else no matter how packed the venue. Oblivious to what others may be thinking and not really bothering about anyone else at all. Name derived from the smell that omits from his persona and a name created by my dear old Dad who once said someone near us was “humming like a pole cat!”. I really didn’t want to add this guy to the list, but I had too because like the other nine, he’s at every swap-meet I’ve ever attended!
Do you recognise any of these types of collector? Which kind of collector are you? Do you name collectors like we did? We would love to know! Please send us your comments using the reply box below.