Collecting Guidelines

My feed reader brought me an article First Edition: An Introduction to Book Collecting
whose main points, can easily be applied to collecting Scout memorabilia.

Know what you want to collect. Genres, authors, reading copies, high-grade first editions—whatever. We all have “accidental” collections that accumulate, without conscious intent, over the course of time; if you are at the point where you want to start taking an active role in shaping a collection, the best place to start is with understanding what belongs in it, and what doesn’t.

Decide what you want to collect.  If it is OA, will it be a number set?  All Active Lodges?  My state? My Section? My Lodge? Flaps, Odd-shapes, event issues?  It is up to you to decide what you want to collect; set a goal, monitor your progress and watch that accumulation turn into a collection.

Know what you already own. It makes no difference how you do it—a program such as Delicious Library, a Word file or a notebook, with everything jotted down in the cataloguing methodology of your choice, or just keeping your shelves in order—get it organized and searchable. Everything that you already own that fits into your definition of what you want your collection to be means that you won’t need to buy it again. It should also give you a pretty good answer to #1, above.

I’ve spoken about this before unless you want to bring home that ‘need’ for the third time; and perhaps pass by that real need because either you don’t know you need it or you spent all of your patch money on something you already had.

Know what you want to spend. With the exception of one-of-a-kind items and the truly rare, in this Internet age you can likely find almost anything, if you know where to look. …That doesn’t necessarily mean it comes off your “want to collect” list if those particular copies are out of your spending parameters; just means that you may need to wait longer, or look harder, to find a copy that works for you.

Set a budget, stick to it.  Know the difference between need and want.  Increase your level of knowledge so you know the difference between that can’t pass it up because I’ll never see it again and what will be around again at the next TOR or over the next few months on eBay.

Know your stuff. It isn’t hard to buy books. Or stocks, for that matter. But in both cases, it really helps to truly understand what makes one thing better—from a buying standpoint—than another. Not only will you increase your chances of getting the right book the first time, you’ll also be protecting your investment.

Learn about what your collecting, read articles, join ISCA, monitor eBay, read a blog, buy a collectors guide, meet and talk with others interested in your area of collecting.  Listen, learn and share what you know with others.


When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
R. Buckminster Fuller
US architect & engineer (1895 – 1983)

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