What’s the difference between a collector and a pack rat? Focus, knowledge,
enthusiasm, and discipline. The chase is also half the fun. Are you a collector?
1. Collect what you enjoy.
You’ll know you’re a successful collector when you remodel the house
to make room for the things you’ve found.
2. Do your homework.
Learn about what you like, ﬁnd people who know your area
of collecting, and ask questions.
3. Buy the best you can afford.
Quality counts, and good quality costs more than bad. As you become
comfortable with your expertise, consider buying better pieces.
4. Don’t buy an “investment.”
Buy because you enjoy a particular piece, not because you think it’s
an alternative to the stock market.
5. Don’t be shy.
Ask questions. Dealers know the market, and part of what you buy from them
is their knowledge and expertise. Other collectors are also a good source
6. Protect your collection.
Light, water, dust, sunlight, and accidents can damage antiques. There are
many resources that can help. Perhaps start with Caring for Your Cherished Objects
(Winterthur 2021). If you amass valuable material, insure it with insurance
companies that specialize in collections. If your object or artwork needs
professional conservation, the American Institute for Conservation has lists of
certiﬁed conservators in just about every ﬁeld.
7. Have fun!
Attend shows, go to auction previews, visit Winterthur, and have a good time!
These tips were created by Forbes Maner, a trustee of Winterthur Museum, Garden
& Library and supporter of the Delaware Antiques Show.