Modern Limited Rarities

There has been a thread on Patch-L regarding the effect of the issuance of “Modern Limited Rarities” by Lodges. This is where a single individual or small group is awarded a special limited run patch. Perhaps as a recognition for a job well done, to commemorate or section, region or national office or even for attending an event as a delegate. Here was my contribution to the discussion.

I agree that, in general, all lodge issues should be available to all lodge members although they should be only worn by those who are earned or are otherwise entitled to wear them.

Now of course as I’m a collector, I could be accused of a bit of bias.

One thing I think some LEC’s and their advisors lose sight of in their quest for “Limited Rarities” is who supports the lodge financially.

Most events run on a break even basis at best and in some cases are subsidized from general funds. Lodges are asked to support their councils and camps financially. A chief or LEC may have a pet project they want to push, and while not true of all lodges, many lodges are run off the profits from the box, the trunk, the trading post or whatever their resale area is called.

Who buys the items issued by the lodge? Of course many brothers by one or two of each issue for uniform wear, but is the collectors, traders and accumulators that buy the 5’s, 10’s and 25’s of each issue over time.

People who collect generally are looking to complete their checklist (now that could be from the Blue Book, some local list or one created by the individual). Each persons checklist will vary and change over time. It may contain just flaps or maybe flaps and neckerchiefs. As a collection expands, event patches and chapter or clan issues may be added.

One thing that I think is common to most collectors, is they need to be able to think you can complete a collection. It does not have to be easy, it could take years, it may cost more money than you think you are willing to spend; but you need to have a chance to be able to complete it.

When a “Modern Limited Rarity” is created, or too many are created within a single lodge; it can become impossible to complete a collection. While I may be able to rationalize that I’ll never get that elusive 50+ year old early issue because my pockets aren’t deep enough. I can hope to find one at a yard/garage sale and continue the quest.

If I can’t get one of the 12 item run “Modern Limited Rarity” issued to the special few, and can’t complete my collection because I’m missing 3 ‘specials’ issued over the last 5 years will I buy a dozen of the next lodge flap when it comes out?

I know more than one collector, who has stopped collecting their home lodge because of this very reason.

My $0.02.

What do you think?



————————

Share

3 Comments

  1. Chris Meacham says:

    I do understand the frustrations that collectors may have over “modern limited rarities”, but I think there may be other angles to look at it from.

    + A lodge may issue a special patch that can only be earned as a way to thank its volunteers.

    + Some lodge members recognize the potential value of limited issue flaps and subsequently think that it is a good idea to make all flaps a limited quantity. Look at Loon Lodge 364 for example.

    + There are some members (I know of a few in my lodge) that resent the fact that, if no limitations were made, anyone could buy so many flaps that lodge members never have the opportunity to, while money issues restricted the initial quantity and delay a re-order. I have heard of this happening.

    There is at least one member in my lodge that was a bit discouraged by the restrictions on the Ga-Hon-Ga 34 5-year flap set, so I know the frustration a limited issue can cause. I personally don’t collect to complete a series or one of every issue; if its something I want, I try to get it.
    There’s my $0.02

  2. nyoatrader says:

    Chris,

    Thanks for the comment and I do agree with, at least, some of your points

    A lodge may issue a special patch that can only be earned as a way to thank its volunteers.

    The lodge does not issue patches for the collector community and certainly has the right to issue virtually anything for any purpose. If they plan to use collectors to ‘balance the lodge budget’ however they need to take collectors into account in their plans. And there is a big difference between a 500 issued patch and a 50 issued patch even if they both have the ‘same’ restriction. I also know lodges where the Elangomat flap is free to those brothers who particpate in the program, but where someone can buy the same patch from the lodge for $50 for their collection. Here both the lodge and collector benefit.

    Some lodge members recognize the potential value of limited issue flaps and subsequently think that it is a good idea to make all flaps a limited quantity

    I don’t think I agree with this at least the way I interpet it.
    National certainly does not think restrictions are appropriate. A good program is more likely to motivate an Arrowman rather than a rare patch.
    Also I have a problem with a Arrowman, who can afford to go on a major event, being given (or sold at a nominal price) a delegate flap which translates into a $50-100 immediate profit and the same patch is denied a brother who doesn’t have the resources to attend the event.

    In my, admittedly biased, mind I’d rather the lodge sell the flaps to those in the lodge that want them at a nominal price and if they want to fund the lodge program, sell a few of the same flaps to local collectors (at that inflated price) where the proceeds benefit the lodge rather than the individual (and I know several lodges that typically do this).

    There are some members (I know of a few in my lodge) that resent the fact that, if no limitations were made, anyone could buy so many flaps that lodge members never have the opportunity to, while money issues restricted the initial quantity and delay a re-order.

    I am not against some modest level of restiction, to provide an opportunity for all to have a chance to purchase an item issued by the lodge. Limiting the sale to a small number (1-5?) for an initial period of time (30, 60, or 90 days) and than allowing unlimited sales can accomplish this. If money is an issue, taking paid pre-orders can finance the cost of the entire order. e.g. 100 preordered patches @ $5 could pay upfront for a 300+ patch order outright or allow the purchase of additional pathces which would allow a price break on the total order. My lodge sometimes takes pre-orders for this purpose on certain issues.

    There is at least one member in my lodge that was a bit discouraged by the restrictions on the Ga-Hon-Ga 34 5-year flap set, so I know the frustration a limited issue can cause. I personally don’t collect to complete a series or one of every issue; if its something I want, I try to get it.

    Each person collects what their own personal wants, desires and wallet allows. Each lodge issues what it wants (or at least what the current LEC wants). Where a lodge looks to the collectors wallet to finance their own operations they should, IMHO, at least consider what the effect of ‘modern limited rarities’ may be to their budget.

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. New York OA Trader | Hardest NY OA To Collect

Leave a Reply