It’s that time of the year again, when people ask me, “What gifts can I get the collectors in my life?”
Some say it’s easier to buy gifts for those who collect modern collectibles; you simply run out and purchase the latest release — and boast to everyone else that you got it, they’ll have to come up with something else! For those who weren’t quick enough on the draw of their credit cards to get the latest issue in a collectible series, for those of you who have collectors of antiques and vintage collectibles in your circle, for those of you who know you have collectors to buy holiday gifts for — but you really have no idea what they collect, here are some practical but thoughtful ideas.
Some of these items are inexpensive stocking stuffers, but they certainly can be grouped together to form a larger gift too.
If you know what they collect, the general category of collectibles, or if they have a specific heirloom they cherish…
For collectibles display, storage, cleaning, & protection:
For those who collect small things, such as buttons, beads, pinbacks, sewing notions — and vintage fishing lures, of course — there’s tackle boxes, plastic hardware cabinets and craft containers to store collectibles in. (Tool boxes also work well for over-sized ephemera.)
For the collector of glass, pottery, figurines, plates and other breakables, Quakehold makes Museum Putty and Museum Wax. (These and similar products hold fragile pieces in place even when angry teens and other careless folk slam doors, etc.)
Vintage jewelry collectors have jewelry that needs polishing and cleaning, but the polishing cloths used by most fine jewelers will be too strong or abrasive for vintage costume jewelery — including the metal parts. Sunshine Cloths, however, clean and polish vintage costume jewelery without removing platings, washes, and most coatings. (For those who collect fine vintage and antique jewelry, there’s Sunshine® Polishing Cloth for Sterling Silver, Gold, Brass and Copper Jewelry.)
For collectors of silver, who are not fans of the patina, there’s Hagerty 10120 Silversmiths’ Silver Polishes.
For collectors of Bakelite radios, Lucite purses, buttons & costume jewelry, and other things made of vintage plastics, there’s the Novus Polish Kit, which contains both a scratch remover and a polish.
For ephemera collectors (antique photographs, postcards, vintage trade cards, old documents, etc.), there are supplies to organize, label and store , including archival sleeves and bags.
For collectors of books and bound ephemera, there are materials for archival book & pamphlet collection maintenance.
For those who collect vintage and antique textiles, linens, and fashions, there are specific archival materials too.
And of course there are a wide array of books and guides from publishers who specialize in the needs and interests of collectors (and dealers!), such as Krause Books and Schiffer Books. And don’t forget there are many magazine subscriptions too.
If you know they love to hunt for vintage and antiques, but you don’t know what…
My standard gift suggestions for collectors who enjoy the thrill of the hunt include the basic gear collectors need. If you want to make it look more “gifty,” pack up the gear for a collector in a new purse or tackle box! Even if the collector already has some (or even all) of these items, they won’t mind a spare set.
Publications such as Antique Week, show upcoming auctions and flea markets in your collector’s neck of the woods.
Perhaps your collector doesn’t have cable TV — or is too busy hunting to see the current spade of television shows about collecting; many of them have DVDs available. And if the collector on your list is a fan, perhaps they’d like the DVDs or some merchandise which they can sport while out hunting for their latest find.
Many collectors and dealers enjoy the latest releases from Kovels’, Warman’s, and Schroeder’s which cover general antiques.