Fellow Australians Adam and Sarah are avid collectors and have a thriving vintage esty store called Hobart Collectibles and I think that choosing which collection to talk about was a challenge for them. I am very pleased they chose something that has a particular resonance with my own childhood. They collect Little Golden Books which were first published in October 1942 and over a billion and a half have been sold worldwide since then..
Can you tell me a little about your background? (where do you live, how old you are, background education/interests, work, family etc)
We essentially both have degrees in Fine Art; Sarah in Drawing and Graphic Design and myself in painting, although in the years up to meeting Sarah in an op-shop I was working in an animal conservation centre in Cambodia, whilst Sarah was busy at Hobart City Mission, both manning their second hand bookshop and doing their graphics.
After buying a whole stack of second hand books and making small talk with Sarah at the front desk, I finally managed to get myself a date with her and thus Israel came into being.
What do you collect?
My first collection, obviously then, would be second hand books (mainly Solzhenitsyn, so I appeared more intelligent), but once we settled down and I could reveal my true tackiness, I dusted off my collection of Biggles books and Sarah began collecting Holly Hobbie.
What we'd like to focus on here though is a totally seperate collection that we started for Israel, which is Little Golden Books (LGBs).
How did you get started?
When both Sarah and I were young, we had the few basic staples such as The Poky Little Puppy, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Sailor Dog, The Little Red Hen etc., but for our daughter we wanted to go beyond The Classics and introduce her to the entire world of Golden Books.
So shortly after we first realised Sarah was pregnant, we took a trip to various op-shops and started to seriously buy LGBs, thus spawning a bookcase filled with over 500 volumes and a fair number of read-along LGBs + Records to boot.
Initially we went to the op-shops armed with a basic knowledge of what we already had, but as time went on and the collection grew, we had to organise nights to sit down and photograph each book and load the pictures into my mp3 player so we could check if we already had it (possibly subconsciously spawning the plain background that Hobart Collectables is so easily identified by!).
What attracted you to collecting them, in other words, why?
The beautiful thing about collecting LGBs is that there is no 'Holy Grail' as collectors so often face. Each title is unique in its own right and worthy of inclusion, although we obviously get a kick out of coming across an item specifically mentioned in any of the LGB forums or in vintage price guides. Plus, I really love the LGBs copy cats such as Numbat Picture Books, an Australian version with the Golden Spine, but without the black graphics.
What is the holy grail of your collection? That is, what is it you are keen to get your hands on that you don't have?
Our favourite thing about collecting LGBs is that we get to gift our daughter an entire world of stories and imagination, with the odd moral thrown in just for good measure. Hopefully as she grows up LGBs will play a huge part in her life and then perhaps we'll get the find our 'Holy Grail' - that one LGB we missed when she was younger.
What are the best aspects about being a collector? What are the worst?
For now though the happiness of seeing her face light up whilst we read her a new story is all the reward we need!
Do you collect something? Why not share it with us? I would love to hear from you.