July 26, 2020

Are you a collector or a hoarder? Here are some interesting assortments.

John-Paul Drake and his 700+ Hot Wheels collection (The Advertiser)

Look on any of the online auction or sale sites and you’ll quickly see that people collect anything and everything. From antique farm machinery, Barbie Dolls and matchboxes through to airline sick bags (unused I hope!) and even entire aircraft.

In my travels, I confess I am drawn to these eclectic collections and have found all manner of museums and private collections dedicated to the most bizarre items all across the country. Indeed, I confess I have ‘micro collections’ of such things myself including vinyl records, postcards, lapel pins, old Matchbox cars and good old-fashioned stamps.

A random selection from my button 'pinback' collection. Most date from the early '80s.

Here are some photos I have taken myself when visiting these museums as well as ones supplied by the museums themselves when mine weren’t up to snuff.

The Museum of Broken Relationships (Croatian: Muzej prekinutih veza)

On a day tour in Zagreb, I couldn’t help but visit this whacky collection of artefacts from failed couplings. How in the heck the curators put together this assortment is beyond me. Here’s one which caught my eye. More: https://brokenships.com/

Wheeling and dealing 

Whoever said stacking supermarket shelves couldn't be profitable? Certainly not John-Paul Drake (main pic above) who runs a chain of South Australian grocery stores that bear his family's name. Perhaps as a means to mindfulness, 'JP' has amassed a collection of more than 700 miniature cars, mainly Hot Wheels, but also Matchbox, Tomy Tomica and Majorette. If you're lucky, you might get to glimpse his collection at his office. 

Armour Museum

A mate of mine excitedly told me of a new armour and military museum that had opened in Cairns in Far North Queensland. It was actually the private collection of this chap, Rob Lowden, who has invested millions into this hobby-gone-crazy project. He is always searching for new additions to his collection, mainly from other closed museums, private collectors looking to downsize and even through agents, like one in Bulgaria who has located several former Soviet items. More info here: https://www.travel-news-photos-stories.com/2014/12/new-tank-and-armour-museum-opens-in.html

Message in a Bottle

Clunes bottle collection  (supplied)

George Lee Medlyn clearly had a problem with the bottle. Actually many hundreds of them. From hand-crafted convict “Spruce” ginger beer bottles from the 1820s through to the last of the dairy branded milk bottles, George really had a love affair with the classic glass and ceramic containers. One of only two existing examples of a rare Sydney whiskey bottle recently sold privately for $27,000 – empty! Ponder that next time you’re at the recycling bin. Read more: https://www.travel-news-photos-stories.com/2020/07/weird-museums-message-in-bottle-clunes.html

Make My Day

Just part of the Hayes handgun gallery at Lithgow (pic: https://ssaa.org.au/)

The late Ron Hayes was an avid handgun collector who amassed a stunning array of weaponry, more than 1500 items in total. Old Ron had no ideas about starting a revolution but instead admitted candidly his collection “... may be classified by some observers as verging on obsession”. Storing firearms of any sort requires strict rules to be observed and this was becoming a bit of a burden for Ron so, in 2007, he donated the entire collection to the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum who were able to house and display the impressive collections as part of their own.

She’s a Doll

Mary Holden, 85, is a real treasure and she’s amassed an amazing collection of dolls and toys in her little old church in Gerogery, just off the Hume Highway a few clicks north of Albury. Mary has more than 2000 dolls as well as vintage toys like scooters, prams and pedal cars. I asked her if she had an email address so I could send her this story and she cheerily replied "Darl, I don't even have a mobile phone. I have a wind-up gramophone. I bet ya don't have one of those!" Drop in for a cuppa, but always call first in case she’s out on the tractor. Cash only, of course. http://www.albury.net.au/~tim/culdoll.htm

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This article will be occasionally updated with new collections. Follow this blog for updates.

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