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Collecting is one of the classic nerdy pursuits, and with good reason. The actual act of collecting itself is satisfying, but it also lets you dive deep into what it is you’re collecting. Reading up on what’s a good addition to your collection compared to what isn’t worth its time could be an entire pastime in itself.
When many of us think of collections, we tend to think of the expensive types like art collections or classic cars. That said, if it exists, you can probably collect it, no matter what it is. We’ve put together a few especially nerdy ideas to help you get started, but these are only a few examples.
I intentionally left this vague, as there are a bunch of different types of cards to collect. If you’re into baseball or other sports, that’s a great place to start. On the other hand, maybe you’re a huge Magic the Gathering player. Just because you won’t use a given card in your deck doesn’t mean it’s not worth collecting if you like the art, for example.
2. Old Toys
Most of us have one or two toys from our childhood that we remember more fondly than anything else. If this is an especially strong or pleasant memory for you, maybe you’d like to give collecting old toys a try. You’ll probably spend a fair amount online, but if you take a few weekends to browse some garage sales, you might luck out.
3. Video games
Yes, this one is probably obvious, but it’s also a larger category than you might think. What type of games do you want to collect? Do you want to own every RPG every released for the SNES, or do you want a little bit of everything. For the especially brave, you could even go the route of collecting arcade machines, but be warned, you’ll want to have a group of friends to help you move it. You might also want to keep an electrician on retainer.
Do you have a favorite author or two? In that case, you can start your collection by aiming to gather everything they’ve written. If you want to aim bigger, perhaps you could aim to collect your favorite book in a variety of languages. Even if you don’t read them, few things look more impressive in your home than shelves stacked with books.
Yes, comics are a kind of book, but collecting comics is a very different thing. Even for older books, most people just tend to put them on a shelf. With comics, you’ll become very acquainted with the process of bagging and boarding your comics. If you score some rare finds, you’ll want to get them appraised. One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re collecting them for posterity, you won’t spend much time reading them. If you’re looking to get into comics, we have a guide to comics for beginners to help you get started.
If you’re looking for something to collect that you can put to use without worrying about damaging it, Amiibo are a great option. Use these with your Nintendo Wii U, 3DS, or Switch to get some cool in-game extras. As a bonus, they look nice sitting on a shelf and you can pick them up pretty cheap.
Collecting rocks isn’t just for people who don’t want to spend any money. If you’re interested in geology at all, it can be absolutely fascinating to find a rock somewhere it doesn’t belong. Even if you’re not into the rocks themselves, finding a fossil can be an awesome discovery.
8. Retro Gadgets
I like old technology. For example, I have a Tandy TRS Color Computer taking up space in my basement along with most of the accessories sold for it. This isn’t the sort of thing you buy to use as your day to day computer, but there’s something satisfying about firing it up and seeing that it still works. You don’t have to collect computers, though. There are plenty of awesome old gadgets from calculators to camera worthy of a collection.
I put this second to last on this list because coins are the old standby when it comes to collecting. They’re popular for a few reasons. For one, almost everybody has some change lying around, but another reason is there are various ways to scope your collection. For example, you could aim to collect every denomination released in a certain decade, then decide where to move on from there.
Like cards, video games, or gadgets, this is a very wide ranging category. On one hand, if you’re collecting kazoos, you’ll probably be able to amass a fairly large collection without spending too much. If you decide you want to collect vintage Marshall guitar amplifiers, you’re going to need a major source of funding.