Posts belonging to Category Collecting Basics

Another Look Back – F or S? What’s in a Letter?

Looking deep back into the archives from December 2008, here is a post which helps explains What’s in a Letter some of the arcane jargon used by collectors.

basicsYears ago in the dim ages…of collecting,  in the last millennium, letter conventions were established to allow collectors to talk about patches through the mail or in other non-face-to-face scenarios.

A – Arrowhead Shaped Patch

J – Jacket Patch a larger patch of varying shapes to be worn on a jacket

R – Round Patch, typically 4 inches in diameter or less.

X – Odd Shaped Patch, any shape not described above.

P – A Blue Book addition for any patch which looks like a wedge of pie, typically for triangular patches worn on neckerchief.

F – Flap shaped patch

That was fine when all of the patches were twill flaps and simple designs usually the totem of the lodge were used with perhaps the lodge name or number and not much else.

Twill means that you can see the base material that the patch is made from, it is not completely covered with embroidery.

Then these new-fangled patches started appearing, they were flap shaped, but they were full of embroidery, they had many colors, ooohh pretty.

Well what was a self respecting collector to do?

Clicking on the link will allow you to read it all. And while you are there, read the comment too.



Another Look Back – The Value of Patches

Here is another look at a post from over 8 years ago, Many of Gene Cobb’s musings still ring true today.

Levels of Collectors

1.) There are different levels of collectors.

A.) The money is no object collector.

B.) The money is an object collectors.

C.) The poor boy that struggles to make a living.

the Feeding frenzy:

At one time there were five major Louisiana collectors that collected any and everything from Louisiana. There was a competition to get all of the items first. We would all go to the Dallas Tor and other Tors and hurriedly go to as many tables as possible before the other Louisiana collectors did to purchase as many needs as we could before the other guys saw them. But guess what happened, the people selling patches at the tables were smart enough to realize that these Louisiana sharks are after all the Louisiana fresh meat that we can sell them so we can raise the prices and they will buy them and pay a high price just to beat the other Louisiana collectors to the patch. The prices just continued to increase and we just continued to pay them.

What is the value?

Another Gene, Gene Berman has often said it is not the winner of the auction that sets the new value, but the second and third highest bidder.  As each person picks up their ‘got to have’ item, the value drops to the folk whose pockets aren’t as deep.  Eventually a new support level is reached.

11.) Collectors, it is a buyers market out there right now. You the buyer must make the decision as to when to purchase and the price you pay. The supply is high at the present.

Still true or has the market turned?

Read the full post here.


Look Back – Modern Limited Rarities

Nine years ago in August 2007 I wrote a post on

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.

Check out the full original post and while I might have added a few of my replies to a comment to the post, I think it continues to be an issue nine years later.



What’s In a Name? or Number?

Gene Berman recently responded to a question on Patch-L with what constituted a name or number collection and some of the variants.

Take it away Gene…

Traditionally, for number collectors who seek a number once to fill that number’s slot.

However, traditionally almost all “name collectors” came from people who were already number collectors and wanted all different names associated with a number which usually meant a new lodge and its superceded lodge (the merged higher number did change but was not vacant). That was the original definition of a name/number collector. Therefore, while I suppose there could be people collecting OA by name, there would not be many. Number collectors who got near the end of the set traditionally morphed into name/number collectors as they started collecting the names associated with each number as well. And some started from the get-go to collect the numbers and the names.

Since each person tailor’s his or her collection to personalize it like picking the components of your new car on line, many sub-groupings have emerged. Some collect what is called a “Classic” name/number set. That is a set where the patch required to fill the slot is the original patch from the lodge originally assigned that number. For the most part this discounts the reissuance of numbers beginning circa 1972. For example, a Classic set collector would need a 155 Michikinaqua and a 219 Calusa but would not want the modern lodge patches that took those numbers, 155-Nisqually or 219-Kayanernh-Kawa. A number collector (not classic) would accept either. A name/number collector would want both.

Some people tailor their collection to only collecting flaps so if a lodge never issued a flap shaped patch such as 182 Lone Wolf they would not want anything from Lone Wolf and the 182 slot would be only for the flap from White Beaver.

Some folks will accept any shape patch to fill the number and some will only take a non-flap shaped patch if the lodge never issued a flap. Some only want first flaps and some only want first solids. Others only want first issues regardless of shape.

My name/number collection which I deem complete has a representative flap from every name and number that ever existed if the lodge produced a flap. This includes after merger the superceded lodge, the new lodge and the merged lodge. If there was a restricted flap and trader such as 90S1 and 90S2 I wanted and collected both. If it did not, the slot is filled with the patch they did produce. If they never had any patch my collection accepts a neckerchief such as 32 Tahawus or 261 Missituk. If there never was a patch or neckerchief I will accept a “flat neckerchief slide” such as leather such as Ne-Pah-Win, such that it can fit into a book or frame. Your collection may be different and I am sure it most likely is just as our cars built on the internet from scratch would be.

It is likely that every lodge that ever existed for a reasonable period of time had some sort of memorabilia. How far an individual collector wants to take it, likewise is up to him or her. Horned toads (mummified I assume, wooden or metal talisman, lots of stuff out there for those that want to go to that extreme).

“A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America for the present generation, and probably produce no small influence on the happiness of society through a long succession of ages to come.” –George Washington (1788)


Thread Heads – Please No Orphans At NOAC

Another episode of Thread Heads where Brad England and Jason Spangler talk about preventing NOAC Orphans and other topics of interest to collectors.

Give it a listen.

“[O]f all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. … History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.” —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781


Thread Heads – Caldwell Pins

Thread Heads is a irregular video series put out by Jason Spangler and Brad England

In this episode, Jason interviews John Ortt on OA Pins known generically as Caldwell Pins which is a niche area of OA collecting.

With the Order of the Arrow celebrating it’s centennial 2015 this episode of Thread Heads goes back to the earliest lodge insignia before anybody had a lodge pocket flap on their shirt. When the OA was just a few years old some lodges began making Brotherhood and Vigil Honor pins in the same line as popular fraternity pins. The distinguishing factor for many of these was the arrow attached by a short chain to the totem pin. Today these early lodge pins are the rarest of all Order of the Arrow insignia.

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“The past might hurt but don’t run from it, repeat it, or punish others for it. Learn from it and be glad that you survived it.” ― Rob Liano


The 5 Rules for Valuing Collectibles

A recent article in an Insurance Industry Website Property Casualty 360 discussed rules for valuing collectibles after a loss by John Sterling the well-known radio play-by-play announcer of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees since 1989 of 5 World Series Rings in a devastating fire earlier this year.


Here are their tips:
1. Start with a detailed inventory.

2. Back up your inventory on a storage device.
It doesn’t help if your inventory is lost with your possessions.

3. Update the inventory every five years.
Perhaps more oftern if you are actively collecting and increasing the number of items in your collection.

4. Have the correct insurance coverage in place.

5. Understand the difference between replacement and restoration.
This will depend on the terms of your policy and what is covered.

Now this was an insurance industry piece, so their final advice was to

Talk to your agent, broker or carrier about your homeowners or tenant’s policy sooner rather than later, Trabue advises. They’ll help you determine the best way to insure your household goods from the most expensive collectible to the least expensive kitchen spatula.

What steps have you taken with your collection?

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“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” Harry Golden