Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Thrill of the Hunt

Ever meet a world-class collector? I met one the other day over the telephone and I'm still pondering what drives this woman. Must be the thrill of the hunt.

She and her husband reside in a very affluent community on the California coast, so we can assume they have the resources to do what they like. And what they like is to travel and shop for antiques. Ten weeks of the year! They start in California, and after they've done a tour there they hop a plane and fly over to Europe, presumably for the street markets and shops and such. When they get home, they turn on their computers and go shopping on eBay!

They don't have a store, don't sell at shows, don't have space in a mall. Maybe they're furnishing a big, empty 36-room house, who knows? She collects linens and textiles, while he buys antique toys.

"Linens and toys," I commented, "must be fairly easy to transport home. Not breakable, usually. You can pack the toys in the linens. Good choices." But no, he doesn't always go for the little toys. Once he picked up a whole train set, and not the small scale, either. Each car was 36 inches long! Even in the sort of mega-SUV I imagine they drive, it must have been a major challenge to pack it all in.

At the moment they're getting ready for a tour of Southern California and the Mrs. was requesting I mail her a copy of our 2008 Collector's Guide. "We always take the Guide with us on our trips," she insisted. "It's essential for planning ahead where we'll be stopping."

We don't normally mail out individual books for free anymore. At more than $2 a copy in postage, it's become prohibitive. And then we have to find someone headed for the States, since we don't rely on the Mexican mail system (even the electric and water companies don't do that!) Instead, we upload the entire edition on the Internet, so if collectors don't have the hardcopy book, they can go to the Table of Contents, select the region they'll be visiting and print out the desired pages with their maps.

But in this unique case, I decided to make an exception.

You could call it my "Collector of the Year Award."

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