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The Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention.

New York’s golden era had hip-hop luminaries digging in the crates at the legendary Roosevelt Hotel Record Convention. Record dealer John Carraro reflects on introducing old music to the likes of Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Large Professor, Buckwild, Diamond D, Prince Be, Mr. Walt, and DJ Clark Kent, among others.
posted by chunking express on Jun 1, 2014 - 11 comments

Fake Real Stamps and Real Fake Stamps

The U.S. Postal Service prints more than 20 billion stamps a year, the vast majority of which are perfect. However, tiny errors can make even humble 1-cent stamps worth many times more to collectors (or philatelists, if you're feeling formal). The most famous of these is perhaps the Inverted Jenny, which features a biplane flying upside down. Only 100 of the misprinted 24-cent airmail stamps issued in 1918 were found, and one can fetch nearly a million dollars at auction, or even appear in a Florida ballot box (that one was fake). [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Oct 7, 2013 - 19 comments

The expanding canvas

The Sad and Rapid Decline of the Ball Cap: Including photos of the 67 hats that survived of the author's 90s-era Hat Collection. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 12, 2013 - 84 comments

Before there was a [US] national museum, we had a nation of savers

"In the early 1800s, a hammer was kept near Plymouth Rock for the pilgrim who had forgotten to bring one. By the end of the 19th century, what was left of the rock was fenced off within a memorial." "The United States, it turns out, was a nation of casual plunderers from the start. Visitors to Mount Vernon snapped splinters from the moldings; beachgoers in Massachusetts chiseled off chunks of Plymouth Rock; tourists snipped fabric from the White House curtains. By the early 19th century, newspapers were referring to illicit souvenir hunting as a “national mania.” " [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 12, 2013 - 49 comments

The Yodeling Astrologer

When Jim Holmberg fractured his skull after a motorcycle accident in the 1960s, it left him several things - deafness in the left ear, a belief in cosmic forces that had cured the resulting spinal meningitis, and an astonishing sopranino range in his voice. [more inside]
posted by solarion on Nov 23, 2012 - 10 comments

Magnificent obsessions

Jay Raymond collects irons. Until 2007 he collected only streamlined irons: In the U.S. this meant irons made between 1932 and 1952. In 2007 he sold that collection of about 180 irons, and he now collects electric irons made between 1890-1925.
Alan Davies collects old bricks.
Rev Doug Dawson owns about 900 harmonicas.
Shaun Kotlarsky collects electrical and telegraph insulators. He has about 2,000 of them.
Bob Manning collects Mickey Mouse ties. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Nov 13, 2012 - 29 comments

The Hippy and the Expressionists

Confessions of a Genius Art Forger — In one of Germany's greatest art scandals, former hippie and talented artist Wolfgang Beltracchi forged dozens of paintings over a period of 35 years, earning millions and fooling top collectors and museums. In a SPIEGEL interview, he reveals how he did it and why he eventually got caught. Photo Gallery. Background... [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 26, 2012 - 20 comments

An interview with MaryBeth Hamilton, author of In Search of the Blues

...The cult of and luster for country blues among these record collectors came about because not only were recordings by Charley Patton, Son House, Skip James and Robert Johnson not successfully sold to African Americans, but other record collectors were not interested in them either. There were so many collectors of New Orleans jazz that not only did the recordings became too expensive to collect, they also didn't want them -- they wanted to find something that required more energy to uncover, and more energy to actually appreciate. Anyone who has ever listened to Charley Patton knows that you have to learn how to listen to him, you have to really struggle -- it is a work of archeology, really, to make out what he is saying. It is powerful, and I don't want to deny its power, but you have to learn how to hear that power, and African Americans, when these records came out, didn't necessarily hear that.
From an interview with Marybeth Hamilton, author of In Search of the Blues [more inside]
posted by y2karl on May 26, 2012 - 13 comments

"An obscure world of celluloid intrigue"

"At a time when most old films were still protected by copyright and studios were urging the FBI to prosecute individuals owning copyrighted films, movie collecting was a largely underground and somewhat dangerous activity." In 1977, for example, a 20 year old film collector was visited by the FBI. The agents, posing as fellow collectors, entered his home and seized his collection. His case wasn't unique. Even the stars — most famously, Roddy McDowall — were subject to the legal wrath of the very studios they worked for. Still, some collectors got away with it (including one J. D. Salinger). [more inside]
posted by bubukaba on May 9, 2012 - 16 comments

Through a Glass, Smartly

Through a Glass, Smartly Larry Sherk is one of the world's foremost brewerianists, a collector of beer stuff who over 40 years has amassed the country's second-largest private collection of beer labels (about 3,000), many of which date to the late 1800s. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Feb 4, 2012 - 4 comments

The Black Tulip of American Literature

In 1827, a first-time author paid to have a small number of copies of his book Tamerlane and Other Poems, by a Bostonian printed. When Edgar Allan Poe later reprinted the book under his own name, he apologized for its poor quality, but the first edition has become one of the most sought after rarities in book collecting. This week, one of the two copies in private hands sold for $662,500, but you can flip through this one for free.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Dec 5, 2009 - 5 comments

Woodward realized that it was only a question of being pestered forever or quietly throwing open his place

"The What Cheer House catered to men only, permitted no liquor on the premises, and housed San Francisco's first free library and first museum." Opened in 1852 by Robert B. Woodward it became immensely popular. "[S]ailors enjoyed staying there... [he] was such a well-liked man that they would often bring him trinkets from around the world when they’d come to town. For Woodward, these gifts were the beginning of what would become a life-long obsession with collecting." He moved the collection and opened Woodward's Gardens in 1866 between Mission and Valencia at 13th-15th streets. Called the Central Park of the West, it was San Francisco's most famous public resort. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Oct 4, 2009 - 23 comments

You like vinyl? I've got your vinyl right here.

Desperate Man Blues Edward Gillen's documentary about Joe Bussard, renowned collector of 25,000+ blues, folk and gospel 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. It's about the hunt and the hunter, as much as what he found. One week only on Pitchfork TV [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jan 31, 2009 - 15 comments

Pencil pushers - Pencil collectors

The Art of Sharpening the Pencil (You've GOT to check out the bizarre pencil sharpener at the bottom of the page. "You'll poke your eye out!"). [more inside]
posted by spock on Oct 23, 2007 - 33 comments

The Bobacabana

Apparently Gus & Pam enjoy the Star Wars films.
posted by jonson on Feb 6, 2006 - 109 comments

Very Special Duke Trading Cards

Tips from the Blue Devils - Dunking the ball is a flashy move. In some instances, it can be the wrong move. Pot and cocaine are wrong moves. They mess up your thinking and can kill you instantly.
posted by sdrawkcab on Jan 25, 2006 - 41 comments

My Armoury

My Armoury - A resource for historic arms & armour collectors (Unfortunately, mostly replicas)
posted by growabrain on Feb 12, 2005 - 8 comments

Oh, the Japanity!

I had today off so I decided to take pictures of my Pikachu Obsession...
posted by kirkaracha on Jan 6, 2005 - 59 comments

How the pirates saved civilization

Every Song Ever Recorded His goal: to own a digital copy of every song ever made. His reason: to preserve them through the upcoming apocalyptic jihad. Just don't ask him to share. (via Macsurfer)
posted by joaquim on Nov 11, 2004 - 39 comments

The Invasion Begins

Mars Attacks!
"In 1962, Topps released the bubble-gum cards known as "Mars Attacks". They were the creation of Len Brown and Woody Gelman. They were painted by the famous pulp-comic artist, Norm Saunders. Presented here, for the first time on the Web, are scanned reproductions of their genius..."
posted by quonsar on Dec 11, 2003 - 23 comments

Worst Albums of All TimeNot another top blah, blah of all blah, blah list...

Thrift store record collectors' treasure trove. I know that we talked about the supposed worst record album covers of all time here, but some of these were too priceless not to share, and some have MP3s of the actual recordings to boot!!!

Here's just a small taste of what to expect:

"...There's no photos or credits anywhere on this album. Just the sickly drawing on the cover and a list of song titles. I bought it for 50 cents on a hunch after noticing the title: "Diary of an Unborn Child". As far as bizarre Christian LPs, I gotta say, this is this most extreme thing I've ever heard. It's some full grown man with a munchkin voice, singing terrifying songs about drug use, abortion and being a fat kid and each fill me with a profound sense of dread, horror, and disgust."
posted by psmealey on Nov 26, 2003 - 20 comments

Spasmodica

Spasmodica There have been some unusual homemade characters popping up, but I thought the names and descriptions for these were unusually clever. For example: Chestaire, who "secretly wishes he had more hair (on his head)." Or Jacques Heepoe ("the 's' is silent") the hippo who is "an avid tonette player".

Hey, Kelly Osborne owns one. And if you're out of work like me, the creator is open to swaps. Sweet.
posted by sparky on Sep 19, 2003 - 9 comments

Chinese Contemporary Art

Chinese-art.com is a web-based portal site designed to provide.. [more]
posted by hama7 on Mar 16, 2003 - 4 comments

Modern First Editions

If You Were Rich Would You Collect Modern First Editions? Well, it's difficult to browse Christie's upcoming auction of 20th century books and manuscripts; the stock of a well-known bookseller such as Ken Lopez or even go "bargain-hunting" at Amazon without understanding their appeal... [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Nov 25, 2002 - 21 comments

Hong Kong Debt Collection Gets Ugly.

Hong Kong Debt Collection Gets Ugly. "Collectors have been known to throw snakes, or a swarm of grasshoppers into an apartment to hasten debt repayment, or to hang the carcasses of dogs and cats outside." I think I'd prefer being declined for credit, wouldn't you?
posted by Miss Beth on Sep 10, 2002 - 3 comments

A 63-year old Norwegian bus company owner has amassed one of the worlds largest collections of ancient manuscripts valued at over 110 million dollars. His story, how the collection is used and his plans for the sale proceeds are all first-class and an inspiration to private collectors of antiquities.
posted by stbalbach on Aug 25, 2002 - 15 comments

Pez!

Pez! Forget politics, today's about gorging on candy. And what other candy is so obsessed over as Pez? (Google search results of "pez") I'm surprised no Pez sites were mentioned in the Magnificent Obsession discussion earlier this month, such as Pez Central. There's even a Dark Side of Pez site. For adults who didn't get good candy for Halloween when they were young, there's the Prozac Pez dispenser collection (be sure to play the Prozac Pez Game, it's like a shooting gallery).
posted by msacheson on Oct 31, 2001 - 10 comments

One of my favorite things about surfing the web is stumbling upon someone's magnificent obsession.

One of my favorite things about surfing the web is stumbling upon someone's magnificent obsession. In order to qualify as a Magnificent Obsession (M.E.) -- at least according to my definition -- the hobby must strike me as slightly-to-extremely insane while, at the same time, fill me with admiration for the hobbyist's discipline. Some M.E.s are about collecting totally useless data (like the main link above), or like this research into EXIT Sign Coloration; or strange items, like Wal-Mart receipts or air-sickness bags. But my favorite M.E.s are the ones that lead to huge expense and huge amounts of time spent building or fixing wonderful, useless objects -- like planetarium projectors or Lost in Space robots, which "can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000 and vary in detail depending on the abilities and resources made available to the builder. A project like this can take months if not years to complete." Know any other good M.E. links?
posted by grumblebee on Oct 4, 2001 - 80 comments

"Many individuals have asked me in past months, Why moist towelette collecting? Why not stamp collecting, or numismatics? To be different, perhaps? Well, I must admit that at first that was part of the appeal, but I have since become aware of the strong movement of Moist Towelette enthusiasts, and accepted that I am not alone in my fascination / hobby."
posted by machaus on Jun 25, 2001 - 12 comments

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