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Collectible Giving Can Have Pitfalls

Holiday Feature Story

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DENTON — Cowbells, postcards and lunchboxes. These are just a few of the things people collect. And if you’re thinking of adding to someone’s collection this holiday season — think twice.

“Giving a friend or family member something they collect is a sure way to have it sold after the holidays on eBay,” said Dr. Lou Thompson, associate professor of English at Texas Woman’s University and a collector of Mona Lisa items. “Unless money is no object, it’s almost certain you’ll make a mistake with a collectible.”

The established, serious collector will either have the item or the gift collectible will be something he or she doesn’t want.

“I like campy in my collection. But if your recipient doesn’t and you give them a campy item, it will never again see the light of day,” said Dr. Thompson.

“Also, as people develop their collections, they tend to become more exclusive. I collect items with Mona Lisa on them. But right now, I’m focused on collecting Mona Lisa dishware. Anything else someone might give me with Mona Lisa, I probably already have.”

A gift certificate to an antique mall, comic book store or sports card shop — whatever genre fits — is a better route to take. The recipient can find the item she or he wants to add to the collection.

“For collectors, part of the thrill is the hunt for an item,” said Dr. Thompson. “Having that item is a great feeling. But the stories you can tell about how you acquired something adds special value to the item.” A gift certificate allows the collector to add to her or his collection while still fulfilling that hunting instinct.

But every rule has its exception.

If someone is just beginning a collection, it’s hard to go wrong with an addition to her or his grouping. “Or, you can give an item or two to get someone — especially children — started on a new collection” said Dr. Thompson.


For Further Information Contact:

Roy Kron
Director of News and Information
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: rkron@twu.edu



Page last updated November 9, 2004

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