A list of the top ten cool things to collectContributed by Tim Brugger, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru

People have been collecting: fire wood, rent and alms for the poor since time immemorial.

Through trials and a lot of error, we have narrowed the focus of the coolest collectibles in the known universe to the following list. Coin and stamp collectors, sorry in advance.

Here are my top ten cool things to collect:

10. Hand-crafted music boxes

music box

Kaleidoscopes are one of those rare items that most everyone knows, and most everyone likes. But what makes them so cool to collect is that even though some are handcrafted works of art, they just aren’t collected that often. I find this incredible considering the number of people; you may know one or two, that have rooms full of beanie babies. Let’s see, artisan-made kaleidoscope, hand-crafted inlaid Sorrento music box or a purple unicorn beanie baby; how ever will I choose?

9. Cool chess sets

Chess sets are on the list of cool things to collect

Ornamental chess sets have to be one of the coolest things ever. They fit virtually any home décor with all the various shapes, sizes and materials, they immediately scream “look how smart I am!” without being gauche, and the best part of all is they’re great for parties. Go ahead and bust out a game of hand carved, ornamental chess at your next party, your guests will love you for it.

8. Christmas ornaments

Christmas ornaments are on the list of top cool collectibles

Okay, a bit sentimental but you have to admit, Christmas ornaments are bordering on the coolest thing ever. When done right, each Christmas season brings with it memories, and the stories to go along with them, of the what, where, when, why and how we obtained each and every ornament. Then we have to explain to the kids why an ornament brings Mom to tears every Holiday season.

7. Masks

Masks are in the list of the top ten cool items to collect

Not masks of the Halloween persuasion, but those really cool venetian masks that always evoke thoughts of the opera, or some sad Italian play. Those masks from cultures all over the world, and the stories behind them make great collections too. Of course, most collectors bought the mask on EBay and read a national geographic to get some background, but unsuspecting guests need never know.

6. Tea cups

As with kaleidoscopes and ornamental chess sets, tea cups and saucers share the wonderful distinction of being collectible and functional, all rolled into one. They’re easy to collect too, which makes these a popular choice among collectors, and visitors to the Antiques Road Show.

5. Comic books

Comic books are in the list of top ten most cool things to collect

Comics are great collectibles because of their nostalgic value. Anyone who read comic books as a kid can’t help but reminisce about the “good old days” when they pass one in the store, or see a young boy or girl reading one in the park. Disclaimer: cool comic collectors only stick to the tried and true; Spiderman, Thor, Captain America and the like. The Archies, Casper and other faux comics are strictly off limits.

4. Family pictures

Family pictures are in the list of top ten cool things to collect

It cannot be denied, digging through family photos and albums, particularly from decades ago, is akin to Nirvana for many. Like many, I am not a fan of picture posing. However, I must admit to enjoying the pictures of friends and family from years ago. The clothes they were wearing, the hairstyles they were sporting and the derogatory hand gestures; oh, the memories.

3. Hats

Hats are on the list of useful and interesting cool things to collect

What makes collecting hats cool is that no two collections are the same, it’s a virtual impossibility. There are simply so many options: baseball caps, cowboy hats, military hats, panama hats, berets, lampshades depending on the night; the result is that every collection is unique. How cool is that?

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are in the top ten cool things to collect and wear

Now, I’m not nearly cool enough to pull this collection off, but for those that can more power to you. Having one pair of shades that look right is difficult enough to find. For those that collect and wear cool sunglasses because they all look good given the right mood, lighting and/or various other stage tricks, you’re just rubbing it in.

1. Vintage cars

Collecting vintage cars is cool and expensive

Anyone who has been behind the wheel of a fully restored, Rangoon red ’65 mustang, with the top down and the warm wind blowing, knows that vintage car collecting is the coolest thing on the planet. Of course it’s expensive, time consuming and well, expensive, but that just adds to the mystic.