A Non-Obsessive Look At Automobilia.


What we mean by automobilia? Well, anything that is collectible and involves motor vehicles really. That would include a tiny stamp that contains pictures of cars to a great big huge juggernaut. A car stamp album would no doubt include the stamps created by Tom Fritz, including the classic 1970’s Chevrolet and a 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona.

Collecting can seem quite a nerdy subject, so how do you brighten up your collection? One way might be if display car parts is to paint them bright colors, maybe multicolors or create camouflage shades. Make them unique to you in some way. Collections may be based on specific vehicles or vehicles which come from certain places. For instance, a Detroit collection may include items related to General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

Temp ImageOne of the cheaper items to collect is antenna toppers, mainly made by the Aerialballs.com company. There are a few antenna toppers to be found on the Etsy website. Of course, Pinterest is the ideal social media to display your wears and look for ideas. When you are looking for new designs to create don’t just steal someone else’s idea, try and improve on it.

car-2691564_1920.jpgIt is a good idea to start small and move up to something big like hood ornaments, which is probably the most expensive piece of automobilia you can collect before starting on the whole car. While hood ornaments have transitioned to hood badges for safety reasons they were essential to early car branding and therefore inseparable from car culture in the minds of many enthusiasts. We discussed that in this post on Branding and Auto Badges. Hood ornaments have in interesting history we will cover in an upcoming post but it evolved into various art deco shapes such as the Spirit of Ecstasy, the Rolls Royce brand. Custom hood ornaments are still made, like in Texas its common practice to use a pair of horns (called longhorns) as a hood ornament.

As for mid-ranged automobilia one idea is personalized number plates. However, it’s not as simple as buying them off Ebay. This item gets associated with a particular VIN number and in some cases was probably issued to someone in a particular situation. Collector plates, depending on the laws of a particular state, don’t expire. Classic car plates can have a restriction on how far you can drive them on an actual road. ADA plates might become illegal when not owned by someone with a disability, though it’s doubtful you’ll get a ticket when it’s hanging on the wall of your garage. You may have to consult your attorney to make sure you own it.

There are so many different areas to collect it might seem overwhelming for the beginner.

Another factor is if you intend to resell items for a profit. Obtaining items from abroad, one example could be Michelin Man items from France (also called Bibendum), may result in heavy postage and maybe import tax to pay. A better way is to obtain items from someone who is just happening to go abroad, don’t let sundry costs eat up your profit or worse cost more than you can recover.

It is always a good idea to look into the amount of space you want to use for your collection – are you talking about a shelf, a whole room or even a whole house?

Secondly, you want to look into the amount you want to spend. A decent collection is bound to cost more, but it is always best to look for items at the cheapest places first, such as garage sales and non-specialist auctions. When you have the budget you can always branch out.

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