My patch collecting goal for 2008
Every patch collector has probably pondered what they ultimately seek to accomplish with their collection, whether just starting out in the hobby or after decades of collecting. When I began collecting patches at the 1973 Scout Jamboree I really didn’t have a goal in mind, it was just fun to swap patches with other Scouts from around the country. At the time I didn’t know much about scarcity or value, but I quickly discovered it was a lot easier to pursue CSP’s than OA patches because back then so many lodges had restrictions on their flaps.
In the back of my mind I would still like to have a CSP collection that includes every active council, and an OA collection that includes every active lodge, because those are attainable goals that don’t require winning the lottery to obtain the super-rare issues.
As 2008 has arrived I’ve thought a lot about what I want to achieve with my collections, since I’ve drifted without any clear direction or purpose for awhile (other than working on my Kecoughtan Lodge needs, which have become difficult to find as the list gets smaller).
Fellow collector and patch blogger Bill Mulrenin posted a timely article to his blog, Set A Goal for Your Collection in 2008 that I heartily recommend for all collectors, whether you collect Scout patches or anything else. Many of his points rang true with my own, especially the importance of organizing, identifying, and cataloging the items that make up your collection.
Without knowing exactly what you have, you can’t know what you still need, what you have in duplicate to trade, or what you’ve accomplished already. Not long ago I finally gathered all of my Kecoughtan activity patches, spread them out and sorted them into piles by decade, and discovered that I have managed to acquire no fewer than 3 of several because I hadn’t kept my own needs list updated. My system of tossing newly acquired patches into a box to “sort through when I have time” hasn’t proved successful in helping me enjoy the additions, keep track of them, or store them properly either.
I know that I want to get more patches in 2008, but I’ve suddenly realized that what I really want to accomplish is organization of my collection. To that end I am setting a goal for myself of locating all of my Scout memorabilia, identifying it, properly protecting it (in a ziplock bag or non-PVC album page), labeling it with the issue information and a unique asset tag, and cataloging it so that I will know without a doubt what I have, what I need, and how I can help fellow collectors with their needs.
In my New Year’s zeal I’ve bought an inexpensive barcode scanner, a package of labels, and spent a day cataloging my Kecoughtan items. I got through the arrowheads and chenilles before I lost initiative because I haven’t decided how I want to store the flaps. But at least it’s a start, and now that I’ve shared my goal with the world you can keep me motivated by asking how I am progressing, and sharing tips with how you manage your collection.
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