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Over the past few months we have received a number of requests for us to write an article dedicated to collecting. When we received the first inquiry we thought that it was a joke, but after several more arrived and we began to talk with people in the area, we found that almost everyone has a personal collection of something. Collections range from coins, stamps and trading cards to Barbie dolls and figurines. So keeping true to the promise that we print every week, we're going to devote this article to using the Internet in pursuit of collectibles, since you asked for it.
Whatever your particular interest, we found the Internet to be a valuable resource for finding information about clubs, getting price information, tracking down a particular item, or learning more about particular collectibles. You no longer have to wait for the card or magazine show of your choice to come to town.
One place to start is The Collector's Index (http://www.tdl.com/~k55k/). Billed as the White Pages for collector's, this list of lists has some of the best places to surf to. Regardless of what you may be interested in collecting, chances are you will find others, somewhere in the world that can provide you with information helpful to your collection.
If you don't believe that, check out the Burlingame On-Line PEZ Exhibit (http://www.spectrumnet.com/pez). This site is devoted to the collection of Pez Dispensers. Or surf to another off-beat collectible site, Joy's Gum Collection (http://www.pacifier.com/~joyco/gum.html). Yes, someone collects gum and has taken the time to create a web page about it.
Another index to get you started is the Hall of Homes (http://www.bdt.com/home/k55k/hall.html) which is a listing of Internet homepages pertaining to collectable interests. A nice feature of this site is that if you have a homepage devoted to a collection, they can link it in there site. Simply fill out the electronic form to get your information included. Also, take a look at Collector to Collector ONLINE (http://ocf.berkeley.edu/~rhillen/ctc.html). It's an on-line magazine for collectors of all interests, but especially the baseball card collector and has links to other interesting collectors sites on the World Wide Web.
Doll collectors will want to start their search by going to Yahoo's index of doll companies (http://www.yahoo.com/Business_and_Economy/Products_and_Services/Toys/Doll s/). Of course the most famous 35-year old doll in America is on the Internet: Barbie. The Barbie Store Directory (http://webmill.com/barbie/) is a guide to stores that offer Dolls, especially Barbies, for sale. If not Barbie, then how about Teddy Bears? Visit the Teddy Bears Hot-List (http://norden1.com/~gabrielle/bearlink/index3.htm#manuf) for an extensive listing of shops, artists, organizations and manufacturers. The Gund site (http://www.gund.com) is an excellent site for collectors and lovers of stuffed animals. You can even send a "virtual" greeting card from this site.
One of the most popular collectibles this century has been trading cards. The popularity of sports trading cards saw a reemergence in the '80's and there is no shortage of information on the Internet. The directory on Yahoo is a good start, as it the World-Wide Collector's Digest (http://www.wwcd.com/index.html) which lists many resources for card collectors, especially sports related. There are links to card dealers, memorabilia dealers, information about auctions and classifieds from other collectors at this site. Beckett Publications (http://www.beckett.com/) tracks and reports on card prices for baseball, football, basketball, hockey and racing cards. At this site you can find out what those old baseball cards stashed in the attic are worth.
Most of us think of trading cards as only sports related, but there are cards produced for just about every cartoon, comic or television series. Two good resources for these types of cards are The Non-Sport Card Collector's Page (http://snapper.umd.edu/~rkohlbus/) or this index: http://www.cris.com/~abend/NonSports.html. These sites have useful information about the buying, selling or just about what's hot in this field of collecting. One of our favorites is the X-Files Trading Cards Database (http://www.cosc.brocku.ca/~rw94an/x-files/cards/).
For you Philatelics (a.k.a. stamp collectors), the American Philatelic Society has a homepage (http://www.west.net/~stamps1/aps.html) with lots of links. Also take a look at Stamp World (http://www.stampworld.com/index.html) as a base to get information on stamp collectors, dealers, and those who are just interested in stamps We figure people have been collecting coins for about as long as someone has been making them. Coin Universe (http://www.coin-universe.com/) is a nice starting point for numismatics - those interested in coins. It has directories of coin dealers, Internet sites, and information about coin shows. The American Numismatic Association (http://www.money.org) is a nonprofit, educational organization chartered by Congress and is dedicated to the collection and study of coins, paper money, tokens and medals.
We're sure that we haven't mentioned all things that people collect out there, and probably not what you collect. If not, you can always use your favorite search engine to find sites related to your collectible. After all, how else would you find a site dedicated to the collection of pencil sharpeners (http://quintus.universal.nl/users/dickmann/gemma.htm)?
Finally, we want to continue to help you utilize the Internet in your life. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll check it out. You can email us, firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and let us know what's happening on the Internet in WNY or any computing related activities you're involved with.