Copyright © 2011 L. P. Baxter

I think there’s a fine line between collecting and hoarding. I’m not sure where my collecting mentality comes from, but, I know I’ve never liked throwing things away…

And so begins the my tale (Reg), the man behind the website. I was born in Thorngate Street, Kettering in 1944, where I was raised along with my is sisters Patricia (Trisha) and Jean, and younger brother Leonard (Lenny). My dad was an electrical engineer working in the army, on radar systems during the war. While mum did what all mums did, stayed at home to raise the family. Life as a collector began when I got my first matchbox motor, a Ford Zephyr, which I believe was my first collectable.

Of course it was well played with. As a collector, I don’t see the point of keeping things in their boxes. I like to think that a chip here or a dent there, adds character to an item. It gives it a bit of history or a back story. You could look at it and think, ‘hey, I remember doing that when I was at such-and-such’ or ‘I was that old when that happened’.

I’m not really sure where the collecting mentality comes from either, but I do remember that dad had a few hobbies that we as kids, weren’t allowed to join in with.

One of my earliest memories of childhood was trying to catch a glimpse of dad when he was enjoying his time away from us children. Being an electrical engineer, he was fascinated with all things electrical and if he wasn’t fiddling around with his own radios or toasters, he was fixing things for other people on the street. Many a dinner time was interrupted by a knock at the door, followed by a request to fix a neighbour’s electrical appliance.

It’s what he loved doing, and collecting tools. He worked in a shoe factory after the war, but what he really wanted was to own his own electrical store, where he could play around and fix anything electrical. When he wasn’t fixing things, he’d be taping songs and shows off the radio, as he had a tape recorder, which was pretty special at the time. He was always taping ‘Top Of The Pops’ or ‘Radio Luxembourg’, but he’d never let us kids get in on his fun. I guess it was his escape from us!

Thinking about it now, I suppose he had the collecting mentality too, in recording and storing his tapes, his tools and such.

My sister Trisha is completely different to us. She’s an absolute minimalist, and throws pretty much everything away!

On collecting…

“Collecting memorabilia in the way that I do is different to the way, for example, a stamp collector collects. I don’t need to collect every single item from a certain collection. I like to get things to cover a whole spectrum. I won’t collect every Dansette player I can get my hands on, just a couple in goodish condition and working order. Then I’ll get a couple of MOBO horses in good nick and move on to something else. The good thing about collecting like this is that you’re never finished. There’s always something else to collect.”

On my MVP (Most Valuable Piece)…

“I couldn’t choose just one piece, but there’s a few which I really like. I think my collection as a whole is what I treasure the most. A great deal of time and effort has gone into it. I suppose my black leatherette (plastic to you and me!) 3 piece suite from the 60’s has to be up there, as one of my favourites pieces. When you talk about value, I don’t think of my collection in monetary terms. The value comes from the sentimentality I have in the eras I’m interested in.”

On the buzz I get.…

“The buzz comes from looking. It’s that simple. Trawling through what might appear to be junk to find an item in great condition that helped define an era: that’s the rewarding part. Going to meets or car-boot sales and finding things, sifting through boxes and displays, handling and inspecting artefacts, exploring old attics. Nowadays though, we have the Internet, which I think takes away half the fun. If you want to find something, you “google” it. Next thing you know, you’ve got 100 examples in front of you. It’s efficient, but it’s boring and takes away the challenge.”


TO BE CONTINUED ..