Collector or Full-On Hoarder?
I’ve always believed that there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding. In fact, sometimes I’ve even blurred that line to make adding to my collection a reality, which is why working at Osborne Mint has been both a blessing and a curse. Imagine my excitement in owning one of the very first collectible rounds minted in a series and having first dibs on the next rounds! Because I work here, I have a pivotal position that allows me to influence what design, theme or concept is selected for the next minted round or ingot and I’m not above using that influence for my “nefarious” purposes!
One can say that I am not “alien to collecting,” in fact far from it. The entire Alien series is a must-have for my collection. While writing the previous blogs and press releases announcing the collection, I got tremendously excited. Add days of internally reminiscing about pivotal childhood memories (“E.T. phone home” anyone??) and that made me want each round more and more.
Currently there are three rounds in the Alien Series, each in .999 Fine Silver, and rumor has it that an additional fourth collectible will be added. The first in the series is “They’re Here, Area 51.” The timing of this piece intersected perfectly with the news and social media buzzing over the potential storming of Area 51 in Roswell, New Mexico. In last year’s blog post announcing the introduction of the first Alien round (number XII – “Aliens Among Us”), I remembered the aliens of my youth - from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to today’s Project Blue Book. The popularity of this round naturally led to the second round for the series, which depicts our alien friends leaving our big blue planet on their way to their next adventure. About now, with wildfires, hurricanes and the every present corona virus, how many of us wish we could just pick up and leave the planet? Our alien friends decided they’d had enough and bugged out! However, as the collectible reads, “We’ll Be Back” and I am sure they will.
The concept for the third alien round was actually mine. I was watching TV one night and the Allstate commercial came on showing two astronauts cruising around the moon on a moon buggy with a disclaimer saying “do not attempt”. That struck me as hilarious, so I brought the idea in to our creative team, who immediately ran with it. The resulting round shows our favorite aliens having fun on the moon; hill hopping, doing burnouts and spinning doughnuts in their space buggy. The caption reads “Do Not Attempt On Earth”, my guess is because of a difference in gravity their degree of fun is beyond ours? One of my favorite parts of this latest round is the little alien drone hovering overhead documenting their every move. I wonder if these aliens have their own YouTube channel?! If so, I bet they’d be “influencers extraordinaire”.
I have the alien collectibles proudly displayed on my desk at work, and now that we are back in the office, I can show off my rounds. Each of these aliens is still in their original capsule and posted in order left to right, oldest to newest, on individual easels. I firmly believe in displaying my collection, what enjoyment can I receive if these cool pieces are in a dresser drawer or a safe deposit box? I want to see what I have, show them off and share the wealth so to speak.
Speaking of how I exhibit my rounds, I’m working on a survey for other collectors to share how they display their rounds and bars and what packaging options we can offer to our customers. Look for an e-mail with a link from us, or on our social media pages (Facebook and Instagram) in September.
Since we’re talking about how rounds are presented, Osborne Coinage (parent company of Osborne Mint) created custom coins for Doran Manufacturing as a key feature in their employee recognition program. It was a series of rounds with a coin stand to be displayed at their desk or work station. We worked with the president of the company to create multiple designs to highlight career achievements from first day to thirty years of service. I wrote about the program and its remarkable success in a post on the Osborne Coinage News page. The Doran project stood out to me because of the added display component. It is a walnut stand, laser engraved with the Doran name and logo, with room for 12 coins, giving every employee an opportunity to show their rounds as a sign of true achievement. These are a real conversation starter when visitors to the office see each employee’s multiple award coins proudly displayed in their area.
As much as I love displaying my rare silver rounds and bars, I fully understand the potential risks of theft, or damage. For that reason, many of my collectibles are indeed under lock and key. This is where the line between collecting and hoarding becomes fuzzy. Whenever I add a new pair of shoes to my closet I have a rule that something must go, but I’m a little (ok, a lot) mmmmm………..lax………when it comes to my rounds. I’m very certain my husband wishes I was lax with the shoe rule every time he trips over a pair!
Serious collectors know what they have, know what they need and know exactly where their pieces reside - in the safe, the drawer, or on display. My friends and family are amazed at my ability to see a round and emphatically state that I already own it or I need to add that one to my collection.
Periodically (at least once a year) I check my inventory. That may mean moving a floorboard from the living room to access the secret cubbyhole or scheduling time to visit the bank for the safety deposit box.
The first step laying everything out on the table and taking a visual inventory. The second step is the most fun, individually admiring each ingot and round and reflecting on the history and memories behind it - when I got it, why it’s important to me and how it complements the rest of the series.
With today’s digital world, here is a bit of advice: take a photo of each individual piece and store those images in a folder on your phone and/or on your computer’s hard drive. It is smart to have a visual inventory of your collection, just in case something does happen. If your collectibles are insured, share these images with your agent. The photos can help estimate value, ensure precise replacement and evaluate your insurance needs.
For me, taking inventory of my collection is a means for gauging my placement on the scale of “collector to hoarder”. I’m pretty sure, after inventory this year, that I’m one round away from crossing the line into the dark side. Unluckily for me, my collection will be moving closer to hoarder status with our new collection being released.
What would you like to see designed for our next collection? Better yet, do you have a design you want made into the .999 fine silver round of your dreams? We have a competition that starts mid September and runs through early November where you can enter your round design concept. If your art is selected it could become our next collectible. That one would certainly go on display! Look for the announcement along with details of the competition on our website, Facebook and Instagram pages or click here.
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