For the Curious... A Compendium of Collectibles

Believe it or not, we’ve been kicking around the idea of doing an extensive story about collections for over five years—a “collection of collections,” of sorts—and we finally did it. We wanted to look beyond the “typical” things people collect (baseball cards, coins, records, dolls, etc.), toward more unusual items. In the process, we had lots of fun and learned quite a bit!

It’s astonishing to learn the specialized names for these little pockets of community. You may have heard of numismatists (coin collectors) or philatelists (collectors of postage stamps), for example. But it gets even more specific, as aerophilatelists collect airmail stamps in particular, while errinophilists collect all kinds of stamps—except for postage stamps.

We learned that there is a thriving, worldwide community of cheese label collectors, also known as tyrosemiophiles. The same goes for arenophiles, who collect samples of sand; oologists, collectors of bird eggs; and conchologists, who collect shells.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” goes the old saying, so don’t throw away those expired lottery tickets—donate them to a lotologist instead. If you have any old phone cards laying around, a telegerist might be interested… although in the U.K., they’re known as fusilatelists. Another British peculiarity: velologists, who collect the “tax discs” required for display on vehicles in that country.

Do you know any sucrologists (collectors of sugar packets)? What about copoclephilists (key rings), arctophiles (teddy bears) or heortologists (religious calendars)? The list goes on and on… to a seemingly ridiculous degree. (Do comic book collectors really refer to themselves as pannapictagraphists?)

We also found out what Lonnie Stewart has been up to lately, focusing on his extensive research process. It’s a nice reminder of all the work—the hundreds upon hundreds of hours of research, reading and travel—involved with getting every detail just right. This is the “behind-the-scenes” stuff that a casual observer might miss, but is equally fundamental to the finished product.

Finally, we shine a light on a couple of underappreciated gems in town, both old and new. Located in the Contemporary Art Center building on Water Street, The Fiber Universe is currently heading into its second year of business, while at the other end of the spectrum, Cuesport College—the world’s oldest professional pool school—is reopening after a fire last year destroyed its old facility.

Welcome to 2013… and thank you for another year of support! Now, read on! a&s