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Kansas Collectors - Part 3

Sock monkeyEveryone Needs a Hobby

Bringing People Together

Collecting is a pastime that brings people together. Some use collecting as a way to spend time with friends and family. Others enjoy the fellowship that develops at collectors' shows and club events.

The Internet has made worldwide communication between collectors possible and has sped up the flow of information and trading of items.

Here are stories of how some Kansans have become closer through their collecting.

Apple Blossom tea set made by Roseville Pottery Company.


"We had one little battle, but we got that worked out."
- Kay, Topeka

Kay and Marie of Topeka are mother and daughter. Their passion to collect art pottery has grown together. It began when Kay gave her daughter two vases made by the A. E. Hull Pottery Company. Marie went to the library to learn more about her pieces. Soon both mother and daughter were interested in collecting pottery.

Today Kay and Marie each have about 150 pieces. Since Kay collected mostly pieces made by the Roseville Pottery Company and Marie collected Hull, it allowed them to shop together without competing for the same items. Over time though, each has begun to collect other makers. Marie and Kay say they have enjoyed collecting together and enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

Collectors often compete with each other in acquiring new pieces. This can cause tension, even between mother and daughter.

While attending an auction, Marie began to bid on this "Apple Blossom" tea set (top, left) made by Roseville. Marie dropped out of the bid, and Kay decided to start bidding and ended up getting the set. Marie was disappointed because she really wanted it. A few years later, Kay gave the tea set to her daughter for her birthday.

Bruce and Lee with a portion of their Santa Claus collections.


"I think you should enjoy it.
Being territorial about it doesn't really make sense."
- Lee, Wichita

Bruce began collecting Santa Claus figures and related items about 10 years ago. Bruce's collection piqued the interest of his brother-in-law Lee; soon Lee began collecting them too. Bruce and Lee are pictured at center, right with a portion of their collections. They do not compete for pieces, but rather share what they find and even look for Santa collectibles with each others tastes in mind.

As a child, Bruce remembers going to Macy's every Christmas with his family and picking out an ornament. He recalls it was a happy time and as a result looks for Santa figures with happy, not stern faces. Rubber-faced figures from the 1940s and 1950s (the era of his childhood) are the primary focus of Bruce's collection.

Bruce and Lee collect Santas because it is fun. They enjoy adding pieces to their collection that are in good condition.

Objects in Jane's Wizard of Oz collection.


"I felt guilty about outbidding some people."
- Jane, Kansas City

Comraderie is a important benefit to many collectors. The Internet has fostered these relationships by bringing together people with like interests. Jane, who is an avid collector of materials related to The Wizard of Oz, cherishes the friendships she's made through collecting.

Jane's mother began reading Oz books to Jane and her sister when they were toddlers. At age 12, Jane began to look for the other books in the Oz series and even joined The Oz Club.

Jane with her Wizard of Oz collection.

Jane is not interested in Oz items that are marketed as collectibles. Today she buys original books, toys, and movie memorabilia on eBay (an on-line Internet auction site) and visits antique stores. She purchased the Dorothy doll (bottom, left) on eBay. It was issued in 1939 by the Ideal Toy Company during the release of the first Wizard of Oz movie. "I've always wanted her!" Jane said.

Jane communicates with collectors around the world. She has received a Russian puzzle from some Russian friends, and animation cells from a buddy in Los Angeles. Some of her closest pals are fellow Oz collectors. She says she often passes up things so friends can have them.

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Everyone Needs a Hobby: Kansas Collectors and Collecting is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History.

  1. The Museum: The House of Muses
  2. The Drive to Collect
  3. Bringing People Together
  4. Living With a Collection
  5. Collecting as Play
  6. Collection as Investment
  7. Working Together: Collectors & Museums

Contact us at KansasMuseum@kshs.org