We’re so happy to introduce to you one of our first and by far most devoted collectors, Ashley Glennon. Ashley has been collecting everything, autographs, pins, stamps, mini androids, skateboard decks, etc. In this interview for PopGrotto he speaks about his collections, collecting habits and collecting as a whole.
Q: When and why did you start collecting?
A: I have been collecting as far back as I can remember…even as a kid. I remember collecting Wacky Packages trading cards, Star Wars Cards. Among my favorite things to collect when I was a kid were the prizes you could get from cereal boxes. In many cases the cereal company would make a series of plastic characters. Another childhood favorite were Jack in the box bendy characters.
Q: What makes collecting interesting?
A: Collecting is really interesting to me because every item in the collection is usually attached to a story, place, event or some other connection. Within PopGrotto you will see the diversity of my collections which range from Pokemon cards to Swatches to Do Not Disturb signs. Every one of these items reminds me of when and where I got them, or evokes some other happy emotion.
Q: Biggest regret (that item you slept on and missed)?
A: There are so many missed opportunities for cool and interesting things that I miss all the time. In the last few months I was at a garage sale and saw an interesting pamphlet in an old box of records at a garage sale. It had some Elvis Presley stuff on it. I came home, did an internet search and discovered this was an original program for an Elvis Presley concert worth a lot of money. Went back to the garage sale just a short distance from my home perhaps 30 minutes later and the whole box of old records and the “program” had sold for something like $3! Dang! Seems like most of my missed opportunities happen like that!
Q: How do you take care of and store your collections?
A: My favorite and more formal collections, such as stamps and Pokemon cards are in albums or in plastic sleeves, organized and in some cases cataloged. My casual collections like Pez dispensers or marbles are stored in plastic containers or shoe boxes. Perhaps my most precarious collection is a bunch of old yo-yo’s that I store in a bucket in the garage. I’m sure they’re a tangled mess!
Q: What are your long term plans for your collections?
A: My longer term plans for my collections are to actually throttle back and just focus on a few things. Seems to me like if I get two or three of something I want to gain more and start a new collection. I am going to try and resist that urge unless it’s something really special. Check back and see how I am doing in a few months! Ha!
Q: What is your trophy piece?
A: To my surprise I have many favorites within my collections and I can’t identify any item that tops them all. It seems to me that whatever collection I most recently addressed contains my favorite things. Last summer it was the addition of a few art glass marbles, then it was a new rolling ball sculpture, then it was a new Swatch I had been looking for. This is among the things I like about having collections. I can move from topic to topic and enjoy each item and story associated with each collection.
Q: First item purchased and when/why?
A: Among the first items I can ever remember purchasing for the sole purpose of adding to my collection were two, five cent postage stamps called the Gemini Twins. Despite their face value at five cents, these se-tenent stamps made a picture when combined and had a collector value of five dollars. I remember saving my five dollars as a kid and buying these two stamps (as a pair) at a stamp store in Dallas, Texas. I was really excited for a very long time to have made this purchase. That was back in the late 70’s. About a year ago I bought an entire sheet of that same set of stamps for THREE dollars. The stamp collecting market has absolutely collapsed over the past 20 years with many stamps returning to their face value.
A: For persons looking to start, grow, improve or further enjoy their collections, my advice is to simply have fun. Collect what you want for whatever reason you want and don’t be ashamed of anything. I’ve seen collections of old AOL sign up discs and, oil lamps, hotel keys and promotional ink pens. If it makes you happy and is safe and appropriate, go for it! At the very least it will make for a fun conversation piece if you ever share or show your collection to someone.
Q: What is the decisive factor when you purchase an item?
A: The decisive factor when I purchase an item to add to my collection is that it must be something that I have been looking a long time to find or that I believe is truly rare. For instance, some items are abundant but are in high demand whereas other items are truly rare and in high demand. In the first scenario, after a year or so, you should be able to get the item you desire for nearly nothing. Look at Beanie Babies, Furbys, Tickle-Me Elmos and things like that. They are dirt cheap these days. I try to make sure I understand the difference in demand and rarity, then use tools like ebay and the internet to determine the value so that when I do get a chance to buy or trade, I get a fair deal. Another tip is to be patient. You rarely get a good deal if you move too fast.
Q: How do you like PopGrotto?
A: PopGrotto is a lot of fun. As a collector and fan of pop-culture it’s a lot of fun to see what other people collect and how they present it. There’s always something new popping up and I love it when someone sparks a memory from the past.