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Purging the Collection: Confessions of a Collector

By Neil Allen

Purging, downsizing, and culling, are all words for the same thing - making your collection smaller. There are many reasons for this activity, perhaps you can think of a few.

Here's a short list: 1. the collection is getting out of control. 2. Narrowing a focus. 3. Ridding the unwanted. 4. Detaching oneself from nativities that no longer hold sentimental value.

However, we all know the number one reason for purging our collections - our families have warned us, "YOU MUST DO SOMETHING WITH THESE!"

Hardly a month goes by at Friends of the Creche when we get an email or a phone call saying, "I want to sell/donate/auction some/all of my collection. These are difficult calls to take, because finding buyers for large collections is nearly impossible. Also, I must tell you, unless you want to donate sets to one of our Convention Organizers there is little we can do. Creche Herald doesn't not do advertizing, so as not to jeopardize our Non-Profit status or be bogged down with the paperwork and taxes required. Also, we don't have a waiting list of organizations wanting large collections, regardless of their collectability.

I've enjoyed gifting some of my sets to people, and watching their eyes light up with joy knowing full well I've added at least 5 new sets to every one I've given away.

In a recent radio interview I was asked if I am still collecting. My response has been carefully rehearsed; Shaking my head yes and saying "No." Of course I had to explain the head shake to the radio listeners, with the added explanation that my wife was listening to the interview.

I'll be honest with you, it is VERY difficult to give away my sets I've treasured over the 30 years of my collection, but I know it's time to restrain my collection to a manageable level.

"What is that number?" you ask.

Well....let's just say I have a storage line that seems to be in the 500 range. Some of my friends think that number is far too low, and I am prone to agree. However, some say that number is too high, and I am also prone to admit, it's probably a "little" high. (That's denial in case you missed it).

As a traveling display my biggest issues center around my staging materials needed, and the fatigue factor I experience.

I've learned how to set up in 1 1/2 days and "take down" in less than 6 hours. ( I do NOT use the term "tear down.")

With an average of 5 shows per-season I've noticed the fatigue factor REALLY hitting the upper limits. This season I had at least 3 weeks of foot and back pain that was nearly debilitating.

When you do a traveling display as we do, there will always be a heavy reliance on volunteers. I need about 20 people on average to make the dream work.

Oh, I was supposed to be talking about reducing the size of my collection, wasn't I?

Never mind.

Just keep collecting. As Red Fox once said when asked about his funeral plays, "Oh, I don't have any funeral plans. When I lay around long enough I'll get to stinking and somebody will take care of it."

Just don't tell your relatives this is your ultimate plan.

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