21. Carrier of the collector gene.

I come from a long line of collectors.

My mom was a collector before she met my dad, who was also a collector. They got married and collected together. Fast-forward a bit and they had me and my brother, passing the collector gene on to us. And their parents before them? Also collectors.

As collectors, we often walk that fine line between being a collector and being a hoarder, which is something my family and I have discussed more than once. Over the past few years we’ve had multiple yard sales, toning down some “collections” that were actually more like collections of junk. Having to sort through box after box of things to get rid of really makes you figure out what collections are important to you. After a few yard sales, I appreciate the collections I’ve held on to and continue to add to much more than before. Now I actually have space to display more things, along with a few extra dollars in my pocket.

Let’s start with my grandma. She has many collections, including Barbie dolls, dolls in general and Christmas ornaments! Her impressive Christmas collection even earned her a spot in our local newspaper last year.

(Click on all photos to see a bigger version!)

Looks like my dad inherited his mom’s collector’s gene, seeing as his business began from a love for comic books. He is the owner of a successful game and sports card distribution company called Magazine Exchange, which started out as a comic book store that he became owner of when he was 18. Now he has collections of things like books and record albums.


Collectors must be attracted to other collectors, seeing as my mom is a collector as well! Her cookie jar collection is always a topic of discussion when we have new guests in our kitchen! This photo only shows a few of the many she has.

In the case of my family, the collector’s gene is definitely dominant. I love to collect things or take/collect pictures of things that I can’t physically collect. For me, collecting and photography are great ways to keep memories vibrant and alive!

My grandma is definitely an influence on my collecting of Barbies. My childhood years were full of hours of dressing my Barbies, grooming my Barbies, and always trying to solve the problem of every Barbie user, that being there are never enough Ken dolls! As I got older, every Christmas my grandma would give me a Collector’s Edition Holiday Barbie. In recent years, she’s given me more and more of her old Barbies, all still in their unopened boxes and in perfect condition. Seeing how she has cared for her collectible Barbies all these years has taught me how to appreciate their value. She gave this new one to me a few years ago, and it’s one of my favorites.

What happened to all the non-collectible Barbies that were taken out of the box and played with, you ask? It’s not pretty.

(that’s not even half of them!)

Other collections that started during my childhood were snow globes and Pez candy dispensers. Today whenever I travel somewhere new, I still search for snow globes.

Other small collections include my Disney Princess figurines…

One of these things is not like the other…

My Lord of the Rings bobble head dolls…


My Lord of the Rings collection extends far beyond these bobble heads. I’m a full-fledged Lord of the Rings geek. We’ll just say my collection is rather extensive…


My masks (mostly inherited from my cousin and has been slowly growing)…


…and my manga! While I tend to no longer purchase manga, the collector in me FORCED me to purchase all the volumes in some of the series I was reading.


In a world where the majority of music is purchased digitally, I already consider myself old fashioned. I cherish my CDs. I think it goes back to being able to hold a physical copy of something and associate it with a certain time in my life. This collection is ever-growing and probably is influenced by my dad’s love of albums and CDs. I remember being 9 or 10 years old and listening to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album on my dad’s turn table, which he still has of course! Like he always says, you can never match the quality of sound on vinyl.


I love magazines. More specifically, Japanese rock music magazines. I began purchasing them about 3 years ago when I started my studies in Japanese. The majority of these were purchased when I studied abroad in Japan in 2009. I’m quite protective of them, usually looking through them once or twice before they are carefully placed on a shelf.


I also collect Nintendo magazines. This collection was definitely passed down from my dad, who had a few issues of his own before I started my subscription with Nintendo Power. While gathering issues for this post, I had a lot of fun looking back at magazines from 1989! I’m considering (reluctantly) passing this collection on to my younger brother. We’ll see.


Oh yeah!

I guess you could say my dad and I are collectors of Nintendo in general. We still have their first system, released in the US in 1985 and have purchased all their systems released since then.


Collectors aren’t just people who like to have things. Collectors are like curators of culture and recorders of history. You can look at someone’s collection and see a specific moment in time, a fad or even a special event in history. More often than not, collectors know almost everything about the thing they collect. They might even remember where they bought it, whom they got it from or what was going on in their life at the time. Ask a collector about their collection and you might get a look into a certain aspect of our culture that you never even knew existed.

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