We had the privilege of being an active collectibles dealer for most of the 1970s and ’80s. I say “privilege” as we met all sorts of personalities that had different goals as collectors.

We estimate that we participated in about 120 shows during the Golden Age of persons caught up in the craze. There were historians, investors, decorators, impulsives, pickers, and fellow dealers. As a reader of this column, where do you fit in? You might be a combination of all.

Recently, at a luncheon with friends, we discussed how we started a collection of coins and how interesting it was to research the history of each denomination.

Come to find out, there are 100 million coin collectors, and the next time we met our friends, they too had joined the millions! They said how proud they were to purchase a nice group of silver dollars and admitted they were hooked.

The interesting aspect of this case is that these people are really into collecting other things. They really are not unusual, as so many of us are from the “gotta have it” mentality.

Today the market is strong, which is a “good news, bad news” atmosphere. It’s good for the seller and bad for the buyer. Buyers should not despair, however, for if you purchase quality, you will be rewarded in the long term, and you’ll enjoy the fruits of your search.

My wife and I truly looked forward to each show and convention as we met so many great people, and we relive our unusual experiences regularly. One of our most exciting customers was during a New York City theatre show. A lady came into our booth and started to point out items and said, “I want that, and that, and all of those!” She then said, “Mark them ‘sold’ and I’ll be back.”

She left, and about 15 minutes before closing, she came back with a stevedore and flatbed and said, “How much?”

We said, “You are some kind of collector!” She replied, “I’m not a collector. I rent these items to Broadway as props and charge them what I pay you, and retain ownership.”

Needless to say, we were overjoyed each New York show when “Elsie” came into our booth.

This is just one of our hundreds of stories that made our collecting experience wonderful.

For the past four years, you’ll recall our stress on condition of your collectibles and how it will protect your investment. A good example just happened last week, regarding baseball cards in a national auction.

A Willie Mays rookie card, graded 1.5 “poor” sold for $2,200, while a Grade 4 sold for $16,000! Can you imagine what a Grade 8 would bring?

Coins are another hot item as silver continues to be excellent and Grades 6-plus are always a safe purchase.

By all means, do not let investments dictate your collections. Have fun in the search and the meeting of people with a common interest.

If you have read this far you are no doubt a collector. What segment of collector are you, from the list in our opening paragraph?

Isn’t collecting your “whatever” great?

Jerry Glenn, former owner of Reminisce gift shop, currently is an appraiser of certain collectibles.