How to Collect Items: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

Table of contents:

How to Collect Items: 13 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Collect Items: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

Collections may look cool, but do you know how much time and effort it takes to have a great collection? Believe it or not, it's actually quite easy.


Part 1 of 3: Starting Your Collection

Collect Things Step 1
Collect Things Step 1

Step 1. Consider what you want to start the collection

People used to collect just for fun or because the items collected can be valuable. You can make the scope of your collection as wide or narrow as desired. There are three categories you can choose from:

  • Free. Collections in this category include sentimental items like postcards, or small and fun things like bottle caps.
  • Inexpensive. Collections in this category include collection cards for football players or figurines.
  • Expensive. Collections that fall into this category are intended for expert collectors who collect items such as works of art or antiques.
Collect Things Step 2
Collect Things Step 2

Step 2. Determine the cost

Whatever you want to collect, being a serious collector certainly comes at a cost, and sometimes it's expensive.

  • For example, one ancient coin can be very cheap or up to millions of rupiah.
  • A doll from a thrift or antique store can be found for cheap, but one day you might find a L'Oiseleur doll that costs $6.25 million.
Collect Things Step 3
Collect Things Step 3

Step 3. Select your collection

There are several variations of collections that you can choose from.

  • Stamps.
  • Ancient coins. The collection of ancient coins does not cover only coins from Indonesia. You can also collect coins from other countries.
  • Book. The form of the collection is free, ranging from modern poetry books to limited first printed books.
  • Fossil.
  • Stone.
Collect Things Step 4
Collect Things Step 4

Step 4. Do some research on your collectibles

Learn where the best places to find your collectibles are and how to maintain them.

  • For coins, a book like “The Everything Coin Collecting Book” can be a great start for research.
  • Each collection has a website that becomes a gathering place for collectors, enthusiasts, and sellers to exchange information.
  • Visit the library. Libraries can help you find collections, references, and resources.
  • Items such as dolls, coins, ball cards and figurines can be found at hobby shops, flea markets, garage sales, antique shops, or sometimes in your own attic or shed.
  • When it comes to maintaining a collection, make sure you do it right. This is especially important if you are creating a collection in the hope that the value of the item will increase.
Collect Things Step 5
Collect Things Step 5

Step 5. Understand the legality of your collectibles

Depending on what you're collecting, many countries have restrictions and rules for buying certain items.

  • A UNESCO resolution places restrictions on the movement of antiquities, including ancient coins.
  • In Indonesia, people are prohibited from owning firearms without a permit.
Collect Things Step 6
Collect Things Step 6

Step 6. Enjoy your collection and collecting activities

For example, don't collect soccer cards if you really don't like soccer. This activity is a hobby, which means you should enjoy it.

Part 2 of 3: Maintaining Your Collection

Collect Things Step 7
Collect Things Step 7

Step 1. Assess your collection

This step is important for people who collect items that are or will become valuable.

  • Start looking for people in your neighborhood: a salesperson you know, a flea store, or an antique shop.
  • An association that can rate your items can put you in touch with the right people. If you use their services, be prepared to pay. But if not, you can come to the auction house to ask them to rate your item for free.
Collect Things Step 8
Collect Things Step 8

Step 2. Showcase your collection

After spending a lot of time and effort to strengthen your collection, make it so that it can be seen and admired by others. Each type of collection has different needs if it is to be exhibited.

  • Usually museums and libraries want to exhibit collections or works of students or the public. Contact your local museum or library and see if they are interested in opening an exhibit for you.
  • Most types of collections should be exhibited indoors so as not to be damaged or faded by the sun.
  • A work of art should be given the right lighting, but not exposed to direct light, especially natural light such as sunlight.
  • Coins are usually stored in albums or folders and coin tubes or capsules. Capsules are a great option for storing a coin, especially a valuable one. But on the other hand albums are easier to manage when going to the exhibition.
  • For larger items such as dolls or fossils, use glass cabinets. Storing it out in the open could damage the item.
Collect Things Step 9
Collect Things Step 9

Step 3. Maintain your collection

This is especially important if you expect your collection to be of great value. The more preserved the collection, the higher its value. Knowledge is an important component in your efforts to maintain your collection. Learn and know how best to maintain your collection.

  • Putting the doll in a plastic container can cause it to get moldy due to moisture.
  • If you collect dolls, you should make sure you have the doll's original clothes, especially if the doll is an antique doll.
  • Cleaning the coin might actually make the coin price decrease. Be careful when handling coins and only hold them by the edges using your index finger and thumb.
  • Artwork can be affected by light, humidity, and temperature. Lighting is a tricky aspect and it's best to use a mixture of halogen and incandescent bulbs and avoid direct light. The room temperature must also be kept low or cold and the humidity of the room must also be kept constant.
  • Do not store antique books in the basement or attic. Old leather books can be destroyed by heat and humidity and gas pollution. The best way to store old books is to use archives which can be purchased for around Rp. 130,000.
  • Collectibles should be kept out of reach of children, pets, water damage, or food damage.

Part 3 of 3: Identifying Specific Collection Opportunities

Collect Things Step 10
Collect Things Step 10

Step 1. Collect coins or money

Coin collecting is a pretty old hobby. This hobby may have existed since Augustus in the days of the Roman Empire. This hobby was also favored by the kings as part of scientific research. There are many types of coins that you can collect.

  • Antique coin. Coins that fall into this category include Roman, Eastern Roman, and Greek coins. Coins of this type are broken down again in different areas. You can join groups like the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild to make connections and learn more. Many coins were easily recognized by the Roman emperor.
  • Old American or other old country coins. You can focus on a certain area and collect coins in that focus area, for example a small penny or maybe a complete collection of all the coins of a country from the past until now. Some examples of ancient American coins, for example, include Half Cent 1793-1857, Large Cent 1793-1857, Small Cent 1856 which are still used today.
  • Beware of counterfeit goods. Today's technology allows people to make imitations easily. Make sure you buy old coins at certified places. Value the coin, and always check the reputation of the seller. Try to buy from people you can trust.
Collect Things Step 11
Collect Things Step 11

Step 2. Collecting the dolls

Same with coins, there are many types of dolls that you can collect. You need to determine the type you want to focus on.

  • Find a community of doll collectors in your city. Usually this kind of community holds various activities related to their hobbies.
  • Subscribe to doll collection magazines such as Antique Doll Collector Magazine.
  • Some types of dolls that you can collect include Chinese dolls, miniatures, rag dolls, modern dolls, and so on.
  • Learn the terms different types of dolls and aspects of the dolls. Auctions usually have the term “A/O” which means “all original”.
  • Each type of doll needs its own level of maintenance and cost. For example, a doll's hair may be a wig or embedded in the doll's head, and the hair may be made of various materials such as synthetic materials, or even human hair. Each type also has its own cleaning method.
Collect Things Step 12
Collect Things Step 12

Step 3. Collecting fossils

You don't have to be an archaeologist to start collecting fossils.

  • The type of fossil. The two categories of fossils are limbs and traces. Fossils are broken down into four types: imprints (the shape of an animal or plant), displays (when the mold is filled for example with a cast), imprints (nests, pits, or footprints), and original forms (part or all of the creature's shape).
  • The best place to find fossils. Look for fossils in sedimentary rocks, rivers, lakes, and also the ocean floor. Common sedimentary rocks include sandstone, limestone, and shale. In the western United States, for example, from Texas to Montana, dinosaur fossils are often found. In England, beaches and mines are usually good places to find fossils. Pay attention to the cliff face, rock bottom, and tide line. Also keep an eye on the river bank. China has a province called Liaoning, archaeologists have found many kinds of fossils in that place.
  • Remember, don't cross legal boundaries and don't lift rocks or fossils off the ground if prohibited. Also, don't steal from the dig site.
Collect Things Step 13
Collect Things Step 13

Step 4. Start collecting

Now you have the basics for selecting collectibles, doing research, and maintaining your collectibles.


  • If you want to create a collection that can increase in value, take good care of it.
  • Make sure you have space for your collection, or a small collection of items.
  • If you just want to collect stuff for fun, try collecting stones. Although it seems strange, rocks sometimes have a unique shape and appearance. Stones can look shiny, have colors, and come in unusual shapes and sizes. Besides, rocks are everywhere. So, if you want to collect something cheap, this could be your choice.

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