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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

101 Ways To Collect

I just want to say a few words on the many ways there are to collect Barberania (yes, it's a word). Straight razors are included in the category, so are shaving mugs, old soaps, containers, signs, barber chairs, even some old dental equipment. I think people enjoy collecting so much more when they surround their central items with interesting things that go along with it. It enhances the experience. But this week I am going to focus on straight razors.

Not everyone can afford to buy the best and finest razors out there. Items like the "Holy" razor in my museum category are over 200 years old and very rare. There are other ways to collect that are more affordable and, in my opinion, very much overlooked. One of the great things about straight razors is that there were SO many manufacturers of them - considerably more than there were manufacturers of scales and, in most cases, the people making the blade did not make the scales or even necessarily assemble the razor for that matter. When you buy as many razors as I do, you find yourself seeing thousands of different blade makers, but the same scales again and again. So this starts the first of my 101 ways to collect (I do have more than 101, but I'm just going to give a few to get you thinking):

Focus a collection on scale designs (the way they look) or materials (horn, bone, ivory, metal, Bakelite, celluloid or plastic.

Collect shanks/tangs with the manufacturers name on them. It doesn't even matter if the blade is cracked or shortened. You will get some great deals on these.

Collect blade etchings - the blades with designs on them. This one can get expensive, especially if you get nice ones, but there are so many designs out there, it would be a great deal of fun. You don't even need blades that have scales to do this and you could llive with a razor whose blade is too chipped to shave with.

Collect a particular manufacturer. Try to get all of their designs. If possible, get one of their catalogs from the period. If you are going to collect Wade & Butchers, Filarmonica's (ugly, in my opinion) or Dubl Ducks, you are going to shell out big money - especially for nice ones. But you can find a wealth of other manufacturers and razors that are not pristine and still build up a very interesting collection.

Don't forget the box! My prediction for the future is that ORIGINAL boxes in great condition are, in some cases, going to be worth more than the razors they hold. Trust me, really nice boxes are MUCH rarer than nice razors. One day the market will wake up to this fact and then it may be too late for you. If you have a really nice razor and would like an original box for it, contact me and I will see what I have.

Well, that's it for this week. I hope you found some inspiration in these ideas. You don't have to spend yourself into poverty to enjoy this wonderful hobby.

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