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Posted By: oldwelder collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 09:37 AM
Hello everyone, They say the first step is admitting a problem. My name is Tim and I suffer from pump and sign envy! I love looking at all the pictures of roman columns, showcase pumps and those thousands of dollars of NOS signs.I catch myself daydreaming of knocking off an armored car and going to the Morphy auction and buying that prized object that makes my collection as cool as the ones I see on oldgas.Do my kids really need to go to college? I have received great advice from collectors here on concentrating on quality over quantity. My question is how do you guys who collect on a budget (I can't be the only one) quiet the beast inside without skipping paying the mortgage and getting that DSP sign every real collector needs. Thank you all for your time and indulgence.
Posted By: mrcavalcade Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 10:45 AM
Cannot speak for other than myself, but I too am on a budget and find it difficult to reign it in. The problem for me was that I liked everything at the beginning of this sickness. I soon realized liking everything emptied my wallet! Then, I transitioned to telling myself to only liking items from my childhood geographic area. Well, problem there is that everything started in the Oil city pa region. Soooooo, again I am broke! Then I figured well maybe I will just tame the beast by collecting only items that had the words oil city, Franklin, butler, and freedom on them. Well, that has slowed things down, but I am still broke! Lol. I guess for me, and this has been hard to do, If I see an item I can buy that has no real significance to my collection and I can make a few bucks off it to add to my budget for what I really seek, I do. Problem there is the wife has realized that even if I say..." I am buying that to sell it" it ends up on my wall and I don't sell it because of the stories behind how I obtained it!. so, don't ask me for advice! Lol
Posted By: Hardy's Garage Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 11:13 AM
I think it is like any other investment. I don't mean that you should look at it as a way to make money, but as a way to grow a collection.

Start off by purchasing the things that you can afford. It might be a nice Tokheim 39 or a Gulf pump plate. Not necessarily expensive items but certainly collectible. Buy things as you can afford them and yet still put money into the kids college fund. Take your time and go to the many gas and oil shows that are out there. Get to know the people in the hobby, they are a great group of people and an excellent source of knowledge and additional collectibles.

It may take a while but after a few years you will have enough pumps and signs set aside to be able to sell some of what you collected and buy something that you feel is more desirable. I've been at this for more than twenty years and have used this approach to work for me and have had a great deal of fun. My collection has grown, as has my envy, knowledge and number of great friends.

Using this approach you will be able build a collection and educated your kids. A win win if one of them becomes a lawyer you decide to accelerate your plan and take the armored car route.
Posted By: Lastgas15 Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 12:55 PM
Originally Posted By oldwelder
Hello everyone, They say the first step is admitting a problem. My name is Tim and I suffer from pump and sign envy! I love looking at all the pictures of roman columns, showcase pumps and those thousands of dollars of NOS signs.I catch myself daydreaming of knocking off an armored car and going to the Morphy auction and buying that prized object that makes my collection as cool as the ones I see on oldgas.Do my kids really need to go to college? I have received great advice from collectors here on concentrating on quality over quantity. My question is how do you guys who collect on a budget (I can't be the only one) quiet the beast inside without skipping paying the mortgage and getting that DSP sign every real collector needs. Thank you all for your time and indulgence.


Tim, NO, your kids don't NEED to go to college! And if they do go to college why shouldn't they pay for it themselves?

As far as collecting goes there are two problems that most collectors encounter.....budget and display space. Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS BUY THE BEST YOU CAN AFFORD!!!!! Quality items appreciate in value more than lesser items. That item you buy today might not fit the focus of your collection in a few years. This is why it's important to buy quality. You might want to sell something to help finance another piece for your collection. That quality item you bought a few years ago will have appreciated faster than several lesser items would have. Plus quality items are much easier to sell.

Don't get hung up on keeping every piece in your collection forever. I think it was Pogogas that said I can't own it all at once, but I can own it all once. Buy something, enjoy it for a few years, sell it, buy something else.

Focus on certain brands, certain types of collectibles like signs, or pumps, or cans. Being focused has helped me to not buy some things that were nice, but didn't really fit the focus of my collection.

Network with other collectors and dealers. This is incredibly important. By networking with others you'll eventually get the opportunity to buy some things you might not otherwise know were for sale.

You want a roman or a showcase? Develop a plan on how to get one. That could be anything from buying items for resale, to asking for overtime at your job, to giving up something else and putting that money towards your dream pump.

Collections are not built over night. It takes time! I got my first globe in '82. I've got a decent globe collection now, but it's taken a long time, and I still have a long ways to go. I remember my first globe shelf had room for nine globes. It took several years to fill it.

It's great to set goals for your collection, but it's more important to enjoy the hobby at what ever level you can participate.

Posted By: oldwelder Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 01:39 PM
WOW what sane and reasonable people! Someday I hope to join your ranks. All kidding aside I really appreciate all the great advice. In just my short time I have met some great and very helpful fellow addicts.I just hope to never wear out my welcome. Once this thread is complete I intend to make a copy of it to refer to in those times when im eyeing up that bank job!
Posted By: Craig Osbeck Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 02:23 PM
Here is another way, Good luck with a budget if you see something you have been looking for for a while. There is always the collector inside of us that when he sees something that has a Value, appeals to us, and is right there right now he just figures out a way to get it.
No excuses, just really likes, wants, and sees a bargain .

Different perspective, but probably true with a lot of collectors
Posted By: Catauladave Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 02:35 PM
The fun for me was not in the collecting, but finding and restoring. I never found a great deal of pleasure in just possessing. The hunt, discovery, dissembling, and restoring was far more rewarding. Dave
Posted By: Nicole Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 03:54 PM
I have set myself a very modest budget per sign--I can only afford small or obscure signs. And other than the first one where I went %25 above (it was related to a childhood memory) I have stuck to it.

DB would give me a hard time because I have been admiring the many sign walls that members have shared, and I want to 'decorate' a wall in my house with signs. It's the visual appeal and the stories that I like, so I guess in my home I am that dreaded word: a 'decorator.'

I am choosing what relates to my background, or just have an ascetic appeal (color or graphics) that I like. I am sure there is a gas pump in my future, but that will take some saving or I need to sell a painting or two over my expenses.

The nice thing about not having a particular direction, is that I can pass up a sign, because I have no concept of a rare or 'must have for a collection' sign. So hopefully will not have regrets about passing on any, as I am sure many members here do have. Ignorance can be bliss. What's nice about Oldgas, is that even if I miss an old sign, another one will be along that will appeal. I am not in a hurry to build up a collection.

It sounds like you might have collection envy--I suspect except for a few folks, who just want to 'outdo' the next guy, the common theme here is joy and excitement of finding that sign that appeals. So yours might be a longer journey until your kids have been launched into the world. But it shouldn't stop you from careful search, research and investment one small sign at a time... smile
Posted By: oldwelder Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 03:56 PM
I'm with you Dave, something cool about bringing things back to life.Lastgas I've noticed some pictures on here of some of your collection. I think you're being a little bit modest!
Posted By: Lastgas15 Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 04:42 PM
Not really being modest. It probably took 15 years to collect 10 globes!

It sounds like maybe you want to focus on restoring pumps. Maybe you could buy and sell pumps and even part some pumps out to help fund your collection.

Topics like this remind me of a good friend and fellow oldgasser that built a very nice globe collection with a limited budget of twenty-some dollars a week. He bought, sold and traded globes to better his position.

If you need a new car would you say poor me and do without? Or would you devise a plan to make the new car purchase a reality? It's no different than wanting a rare pump. If you want it badly enough, you can make it happen!
Posted By: oldwelder Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 05:25 PM
Do I have collection envy? Yes I'd say I'm guilty of that! But I dont begrudge anyone their collection quite the opposite actually I love seeing the stuff you all have rescued, saved and brought back to life. Ivd been fortunate enough that a long time collector has allowed me access to his wonderful lifes accumulation but more than that his great knowledge of his items and the history of this stuff which to me is the cool part of this hobby.A member on here went out of his way to send me some old magazines and in one was an article about a gas station that was fifteen miles from my house that I had never heard of which led me to go to the local museum to find what else I may have missed. One day I hope to pay it forward like he and countless others of you have done.I didnt start this as a pity party for me but was just attempting some light hearted humor.Believe me im enjoying the ride. every search ,restoration but mostly the conversations and education of times gone by.I just don't take myself that seriously. Sorry for being so long winded
Posted By: gulfiend! Re: collecting on a budget - Sun Apr 03 2016 08:24 PM
...on a budget?...why not 'beat the brush' to find some stuff? Go search it out in the wild, as opposed to buying from dealers and collectors, at collectors' prices - and any extras you find can be traded/sold to make it possible to acquire other items...
Posted By: Paul Bell Re: collecting on a budget - Mon Apr 04 2016 03:45 AM
I agree with Mark. Keep your eye out for items with untapped value "in the wild", not necessarily petro stuff. I usually put considerable labor into projects, make a little money, and then you dont feel so bad about spending on the cool petro items you always wanted. I just picked up an old 1930s saloon sign for example, had to rent a man-lift, take it down myself before they trashed the building, getting it neon-ized soon. Hopefully it'll make a few bucks I can use later! If its $$$ earned outside of your normal job doesnt feel so bad spending it.
Posted By: Catauladave Re: collecting on a budget - Mon Apr 04 2016 09:45 AM
"...on a budget?...why not 'beat the brush' to find some stuff? Go search it out in the wild, as opposed to buying from dealers and collectors, at collectors' prices - and any extras you find can be traded/sold to make it possible to acquire other items..." YES...It is more rewarding to find the stuff in the wild than in an antique store. Dave
Posted By: Ohio Oil Re: collecting on a budget - Mon Apr 04 2016 04:38 PM
Two things I did when I started:

1. I developed a focus of what I wanted to collect and stayed true to it.

2. I vowed to not fund my addiction with family finances.

I bought and flipped pumps, air meters, and signs. If I would have kept everything I bought there would not be room enough for me to store it ... and I let some VERY nice and rare items pass through my hands because I kept my eye on the goal.

I also wrenched on the side for extra cash to take to swap meets and ebay purchases.

Also ... as a side note ... be content with what you have. I don't have the best collection in the world ... but I'm content with what I have ... I don't even allow myself to get into the comparison game.
Posted By: BryceG Re: collecting on a budget - Mon Apr 04 2016 04:51 PM
all depends on how much time you want to put in...

a lot of people, myself included, participate in the hobby/shows in order to fund their collection.

pretty simple - the more I buy & sell, the more I can buy & keep... but the more time and effort it takes up too.
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