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But seriously....

If you are a model collector, you collect models, what more is there to discuss? The answer is..... a lot ! 
There are a lot of aspects to collecting scalemodels that could be used to define what you collect, how about some planning: 

  • What is going to be the focus of your collection ? Collecting every model that was ever made is hardly an option, even if you were the richest man (or woman ofcourse) on earth and wanted to try to collect 'everything', you would most likely still have to determine whether 'everything' is really 'everything' or if it is just going to include carmodels only, just truckmodels, just models of for instance policecars or maybe even things that closely resemble modelcars like penny-toys. 
  • If you have decided that you are going to collect truckmodels for instance, is your 'area' going to include all truckmodels or will your collection consist of heavy haulage trucks or tankertrucks only ? Are you going to collect them as individual models or do you want them mint and boxed ?
  • How about quality ? Some people only want models in mint condition in their original boxes, others will settle for slightly chipped models and do not care if these are boxed or not. Other collectors will buy any model in any condition and include it in their collection with the idea that if they find one in a better condition they will replace it.
  • Any chance you will be setting limits on your collecting interests ? Some people only collect models made before or after a certain date like for instance pre-1950s or post-1950s. Others may collect models from other periods like from a period of time when they were living in a certain country or city. Others collect models related to a specific historical period like for instance models of cars made in the former German Democratic Republic.
  • Are you going to set other limits on your collection, such as only collecting models made by a single prototype manufacturer ? Or maybe models made by a single coachbuilder ? Or are you going to include models made by subsidiaries and sub-brands ? And models of rebadged prototypes as well ? 
  • And, not an irrelevant topic, how much can you afford to spend ? I do realize that this may sound rather commercial, but your budget defines how well you will be able to stick to the collection plan you have made for yourself . It is not uncommon that the amount of money you will be able to spend on your collection varies over time, so maybe it is best to set a figure. And while I am at it, it is a good idea to set aside some money for the really good deal you may find, or for an unusual model that would otherwise be out of reach.
  • Now that you have decided what you want to collect and how you will be able to afford that, how are you going to build a collection ? Perhaps you want to build a collection that only contains new models, never taken from their original boxes, and you choose to purchase directly from the manufacturer. Perhaps you want to collect older models, and there's a great dealer in your home town or you have found another great source for older models. What happens if the shop where you buy those brand-new models closes ? Or your source of older models dries up ? Besides that, chance is that your interests get wider, and the way you add to your collection should reflect that. So you might want more sources, just in case ! 
  • How about taking care of your collection ? How about displaying your models ? Or storing the part of your collection not on display ? Taking care of the models you acquired is just as important as the purchase itself, so how about cleaning your models without having to worry about damaging them ? And are you going to need to insure your collection ? And although it may not be something you want to think about right now, how are your heirs going to dispose of your collection if something happens to you ? If you want to make sure your collection gets handed down to a relative or maybe even donated to a museum or a good cause you may already want to specify that in your will.
  • How about some recordskeeping ? This is not only good for determining the value of your collection for insurance purposes, but it may proof to be essential if you decide to sell some models. That is when you need to know how much you paid for a model in order to determine if your 'investment' has increased in value. There is no need for a complex database, but your records should at least include where you bought what, and how much you spent on it at the time. 

I do hope the above hasn't scared you away from the hobby, but as already mentioned above, there is a lot more to collecting then you might have thought. The aspects pointed out are not the ultimate list ofcourse, and I am sure that you will agree with me when I say that the major aspect of our hobby isn't even mentioned. After all, why bother collecting if there's no fun in it !

In that sense, have fun collecting, but give it some serious thought as well sometimes.

Eric Kersbergen

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