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  • 1.  When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-07-2022 07:29
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    I'm in my mid 50s and as a kid in the 1970s I was encouraged to collect just about everything. Beer cans, pocket knives, patches, stickers, stamps, coins, baseball cards, comic books, LPs, or just about anything you can think of. My grandparents came out of the depression era and WW2 rationing, so they encouraged my generation to save and collect. I have always enjoy collecting and encouraged others to start collecting, but recently, I've realized that my collections have become supersized and expensive. So what's changed? Well, nowadays, we have incredible access to collectibles, like Ebay and Heritage auctions. We also have more time and money, as we pay off our mortgages and our kids become financially independent ( I know I am losing a few of my readers here). So, when does a hobby collection become an investment, or maybe even an obsession? Is it OK to focus a lot of time and resources collecting objects?

    Let's have a discussion about what you collect, why you started or stopped collecting, and is collecting a hobby for you or an investment, or an obsession?

    Perhaps when your collection starts to become an investment or an obsession, it's no longer a hobby. 


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    John Kent
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  • 2.  RE: When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-07-2022 07:52
    @John Kent - those coins are super cool! Do you have a favorite, or a couple of favorites, within the collection?​

    As for me, I don't really collect much anymore. I've leaned into the minimialist-ish style. I say "ish" because I still think I have A LOT of stuff around here. I do collect little souvenirs from places I travel - usually related to the breweries I find in/around the city. Sometimes it's a pint glass or a t-shirt, sometimes it's a coaster or a sticker. I used to collect more "things," especially growing up, but I've shifted to spending my time/resources into activities and doing things. 

    But some of those "things" require their own collections. For instance, I sold my car a couple years back, deciding to commit to biking as my primary mode of transportation. I now have three bikes and a LOT of gear to go with them (depending on what kind of riding I'm doing, how far I'll be traveling, and what the weather is). I also love camping, which means I spend a fair amount of resources on quality gear that will make those trips more enjoyable. 

    Here are a couple of photos of me doing those things I love: 

    (Apollo, my do-it-all bike, fully loaded for bike camping)
    (me tending a fire)

    (Ainsley, my road bike, on the top; my partner's road bike, Wednesday, in the grass)

    I'm not sure when a hobby tips the line into being an investment or an obsession - I think that might be up to the person doing the collecting, or perhaps up to their roommate/partner, who may have more of a say in the space it takes up or the money it involves (hahaha). 

    Either way, I feel like if it makes you happy, more power to you!

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    Stay awesome,
    Quinn
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  • 3.  RE: When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-07-2022 16:04
    Thanks for the response! Really cool that you bike almost everywhere and like camping! I made a new friend a few years ago that liked biking 20+ miles and we took a few trips together. So I am at the point of decision, do I trade in my mountain bike for a road bike with side saddles, or buy a 2nd bike , 3rd bike, lol. Fast forward a couple years and we're in the pandemic and lots of indoor activities are shut down, so I invited my biking friend to join Rotary, and he became a member last month! I try to make new friends all the time, and enjoy trying new things and inviting my new friends to try things I enjoy.

    My favorite coin in the photo,  is the 8 reales 1741 Pillar Dollar in the top right corner. It's likely a recovered shipwreck coin off the coast of South Africa. The shipwreck was the Reijgersdaal or Reygersdahl, an East India Company merchant ship that was lost in 1747 when it struck a reef while trying to hold anchor in heavy seas off the west coast of South Africa. The vessel, sailing out of Amsterdam, carried over 30,000 Spanish colonial coins as part of its cargo for trade at ports in the Spice Islands of the East Indies. Salvage operations in 1979 recovered about 6,800 coins that had been struck in the Spanish colonial mint in Mexico City.

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    John Kent
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  • 4.  RE: When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-10-2022 08:27
    @John Kent - super cool story about the coin. I find shipwrecks to be fascinating. Twice this last summer (once while on a hike in Pictured Rocks, MI, and once on a ride in Door County, WI) I saw signs for shipwrecks that you could see (on a good day) with the naked eye from the shoreline. Sadly, the conditions must not have been right, but I will always stop to check it out. ​

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    Stay awesome,
    Quinn
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  • 5.  RE: When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-24-2022 11:48
    @John Kent I collect coins/money too! My Grandpa got me hooked because he had jars of pennies in his basement. We'd sit together and sift through them all looking for old coins and filling in books (1900 - 1990 (at the time)). Then we moved on to nickels, dimes, and quarters. I'm now obsessed with collecting the National Parks state quarters and am SO excited that there is a series with women on quarters. They Maya Angelou quarter was released a few weeks ago (you can read more here). I still have some work to do as you can see:

    My Dad started a small community bank and I spent my summers in high school and college working there as a teller. I would always keep an eye out for something out of the ordinary and unique. Every time someone hands me change, which sadly is happening less and less these days, I always check to see what I may find. Do they call that OCD? I definitely have an obsession. I don't actively seek out rare coins, I just tend to collect coins/bills from trips I take or discoveries I make. Your collection looks awesome!

    My husband would say that I collect​ everything, which I think is a bit of an exaggeration, but I do have a bit of a hoarder tendency in me. I don't actively seek things out, but if I happen to come across something that I think could be useful in the future or I could turn it into an art project I will keep it. For example, I think I have every beer cap that I've drank in the past 10 years. I am committed to building a table and using epoxy and the bottle caps as the top, which I think would serve as a really cool reminder of where I've been and what I've enjoyed while still being functional as a table.  Doesn't this look cool? (Image link)


    Finally, I do have one collection that is completely nostalgic and that I'm very proud of.  My post card collection.  My Great Aunt went to China in 1985 and sent me a postcard (my first). She joked on the post card that she hoped it wouldn't take years to get to me. Since then I've been sending upwards of 20 postcards to friends and family on every trip I take. Many of them give them back to me and I keep them in binders where you can see the front and back. It's a great way to remember how you were feeling in that moment, what was happening around the world, how much a stamp cost, etc. There's also the added bonus of trying to navigate postal systems in other countries which creates some fun and sometimes frustrating memories as well. In China in 2017 I had my whole family using paste to apply glue to stamps so I could mail my post cards. It was quite the operation!


    All of my friends and family know that whenever they travel I would absolutely love for them to send me a postcard. (I also love getting mail but that's a different post for another time). I have hundreds from all over the world. The pandemic has slowed down my collection, but people are getting creative which I appreciate.  Check out this Washington Post article about A D.C. business paying jobless workers $15 an hour to write coronavirus postcards.  Here's the one I received from my friend (and to bring things full circle - here's a postcard of coins that I sent to myself from the Mint in Philadelphia):

    Thanks for sharing what you all collect! @Quinn Drew cycling gear is definitely something I could have easily added to this list. I think we have upwards of 6 bikes for 3 people at the moment and I know a cargo bike is on the horizon. It's never ending!​​

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    Alison Randall
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  • 6.  RE: When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-24-2022 16:26
    Oh Wow! That's a great post about your collections! Collecting habits usually start at an early age, in my experience, and collections change over time, as we mature and develop different interests. Let's take beer, for example. You decided to keep the bottle caps, then arranged them in a geometric pattern that would be pleasing to the eye. Someone else might have done the same collection, but when it came time to make a display, they might go in chronological order, or by geographic areas, or types of beer, or even a hidden message or secret code. Collections usually reflect a certain aspect of our personality or preferences, and can be revealing. I started acquiring post cards when I was a kid, from relatives and friends that travelled. I started sending post cards about the same time. Then one day I was at an estate auction and purchased an entire collection of post cards that had been accumulated over many decades. As I read the stories on the post cards, the family lines became clearer and I had a sense of what it was like to be alive in Victorian times. Since then, I have acquired a few more collections of post cards and letters, and encouraged others to discover the stories that they contain.

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    John Kent
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  • 7.  RE: When does a hobby become an investment?

    Posted 01-26-2022 10:41
    Wow! That's incredible, @Alison Randall. LOVE your beer cap table. You really have to see that one through! It's awesome!

    Meanwhile, a question for you and @John Kent -- What do you call a "collection" that is completely disorganized and that you inherited (by virtue of cleaning out an actual  hoarder's house)? I have coins and stamps that I've been sitting on for years because I don't know who to turn to or trust. I know nothing about either category and am paralyzed because I fear I'll be taken advantage of.  If either of you have thoughts, advice or referrals, I'd love to hear them. :) ​​​​​

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    Maria Mooshil
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