Friday, December 16, 2011

Collecting: "Tie-ing" One On

Collecting is an interesting subject.  It is tough to collect things because the focus and the act of collecting are very personal.  In displaying, or even discussing collections with others, one opens the door to receiving bottle caps, stamps, or pig figurines for every birthday and holiday for the rest of one's natural life - dangerous territory, to say the least.

I think humans are genetically predisposed with the collecting or the purging gene.  I have to fight myself tooth and nail to limit the amount of collecting I do because I am a breath away from being discovered mummified among the avalanche of my "things."  I have oft discussed the topic of hoarding on this blog.  Perhaps it is because I feel that admitting my problem is enough of a purge.  All I can say is that it is a good thing that I am highly allergic to animals.

It is strange for me to think that I collect ties as they are apparel; I own plenty of socks too but I would never consider them a collection.  It never occurred to me until I was sorting through stuff for a yard sale.  My sister challenged me to count the number of ties I had and when it appeared I had well over 100, I decided that indeed, it was a collection of sorts.  It got me to thinking about what makes a collection a collection.  Is the number of things important?  Does a group of three similar items a collection make?  Does inherent value have something to do with a group of things becoming a collection?  When does a collection become a museum?  Most importantly, and the thing I desperately need to learn, when is it time to sift through and edit a collection?

In all this talk about collecting, I thought I'd share some of the strange collections I have amassed over the years - starting with my ties.  My intention is not to "show off;" I have seen far bigger and far better collections.  I have seen ties that would actually knock your socks off and none of them are in my neck of the neckwear woods.  Furthermore, it must be noted that I am not a snob (at least not about ties).  The ties pictured below are examples of vintage and contemporary ties that have been received as gifts and purchased at swap meets, thrift stores, vintage stores and even the 99cents Store!

Bow Ties

A very special bow tie brought to me from the
Liberace Museum in Las Vegas, NV.

String Ties

A hand-painted & bedazzled string tie
"Clip-On Clolonel"

Bolo Ties

Green, carnival glass snake with rhinestone eye

Horse/Cowboy Ties

Western Kerchief Ties

Ascots & Scarves

Skinny Ties

Ties with dots

Ties with stripes

Plaid Ties

Knit Ties

Hawaiian Ties

Christmas Ties

Printed & Painted Ties

More Printed & Painted Ties

Even more Printed & Painted Ties

The silly part of this collection is that I don't wear ties all that regularly.  I'm not a suit & tie type of guy.  My job does not require business attire.  I don't "dress for dinner."  I only have one neck (multiple chins but only one neck).  So what's with all the ties?  The easy answer is that I like to have options.  Also, I like the artistry and design.  Mens' clothing can be rather dull and it seems so funny and appealing to me in this modern world that we think nothing of taking a length of colorful silk and tying it in a knot around our necks.  Ties are at once utilitarian and completely decorative.  They are definitely a link to our sartorial history and when I see one for a dollar or two, I can't resist the urge to "collect."

What kinds of things do you collect?  Why do you collect?  What got your collection started?  For what length of time have you been collecting?  If you'd like your collection to be featured in a "Collecting" edition of wacky tacky, be sure to let me know.


Mr. Tiny


  1. Great post!
    I am a collector of ties too! And Vintage hats, suits, shirts.
    Also collect bottles, cans & tins, branded bricks, sand & soil, sea shells,archaeology books, Chinese pottery, wooden santos, California pottery, misc. ceramics, English transfer-ware, insulators, rocks & fossils....etc..
    I am need help.

  2. Have so many ties, was thinking of having the extras made into a quilt...

  3. Doug, you have proven my theory. You were obviously born with the collecting gene!

  4. I cannot BE-LIEVE how many beautiful ties you have, Mr. Tiny! Good Lord! It's like 1950's Macy's in Heaven up in this piece! The snake bolero...the horses...the xmas string tie...I can't even tell you which one is my favorite. Ya gotta start wearing ties on the regular so you can show off JUST HOW MANY GREAT ONES you have.

    Also, I think you know from seeing my blog how many dang things I collect that end up in a drawer but I had to have them at the newest "useless" collection is between 50's vases (in the shape of deer, milk maids, british beefmakers, bowling pins, etc) and same-era planters (shaped like lambs, babies, just plain planters, etc). I hardly ever have flowers in the house and certainly can't grow any, but maybe it's time to start!