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What kind of collector are you?

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  • What kind of collector are you?

    Seeing Carter and his collection, this really made me think. What kind of collector are you? There ARE different collectors. I consider myself a "niche" collector. That is, I collect specific things. Then there are "completists" ( I was thinking of the title "obsessive", but completists" sounds nicer). A completist is a person who must have every title that was ever released by this or that company, whether they are really interested in the subject or not. So, what kind are you?

  • #2
    What I mainly collect are silent films from before 1930, although I do enjoy and watch sound films from later periods too.

    I tend to concentrate on comedy shorts from Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Loyd, Billy Bevan, Andy Clyde and Larry Semon. I really enjoy the slapstick gags from early film, and it's always interesting to see many of those gags reused and reworked in films by other comediens even well into the sound era.

    Although it is rarely discussed, there are many early silent films that were never released in the English speaking world on 8mm that did have a release in non-English speaking Europe. For example many seem to forget that Larry Semon was wildly popular in Italy (Ridolini), France (Zigotto) and Spain (Jaimito). He was so popular that special TV films were produced with dubbed sound and effects in the 1950's from original nitrate sources. And those same films got released in the 1970's to the home market on 8mm with stunning image quality that rivals even the best Blackhawk ever did.

    I'm also a fan of early news reels like Charles Linbergh's transatlantic flight, WWI sea and air footage, ect...I'm a huge history nut actually.


    • #3
      Would like to think of myself as a creative film maker, collector of movies and always striven for a professional showman style of presentation.
      Yes I have been called a fussy collector but this comes from wanting to present the smaller gauges at home in a professional manner so that any visitor can see just how good real sorry reel film can be.
      50+ years now doing that and loved every minute.


      • #4
        I don't really collect now, having sold most of my films over the last few years. When I did collect, it was generally Walton Laurel and Hardy films (mainly two reelers with sound but some one reel cut-downs too) and Castle films' one reel cut-downs of the classic Universal Horror films (sound or silent). I also collected sci-fi and horror, again usually one reel cut-downs in sound or silent. Had the odd Tom and Jerry film as well.

        Was never bothered about collecting full length features on 8mm. I only ever owned two Laurel and Hardy features and one cheap horror film. Features were usually too expensive for me anyway (only one of the L&H features was brand new).

        The most I ever paid for a non-feature film was for the 400ft colour sound of 'Alien' for around £30 when it first came out (I think 'Superman' cost me about the same price as well).

        I still look at film sales lists and get tempted sometimes (I re-bought 'Superman' a couple of years ago, out of nostalgia, I think) but I've gone over to the dark side and now stick to DVD and blu-ray.
        Last edited by Gary Sayers; September 28, 2021, 07:18 AM.


        • #5
          Interesting question! I feel like I have a multi-faceted approach to collecting.

          First...When I am at a flea market or an antique store and I find a reel or two, I normally buy the films (if the price is right), simply because it is so exciting and rare to find something in the wild. Title really doesn't matter as long as it's not home movies or xxx, but then that's how you wind up with the 1964 Rose Parade.

          Second...At a place like Cinesea, where there can be so many different titles, I have to narrow down my focus, which becomes horror/sci-fi/sentimental. That and the Stooges are my 'niche'.

          Finally...lots. If I find a lot at a good price, regardless of whether or not I own half of the films, I normally bite. And then before you know it, you have 5 copies of The Dentist or you are 5 shorts away from a complete Laurel and Hardy set, and I don't even find them that funny! lol. So now I start looking for those specific titles just to complete the collection.

          I also have a rule: I have to watch everything at least once. So I have a massive spreadsheet for all my titles, and keep track of my watch list that way. I have watched about 700 of my 735 films.


          • #6
            I've been snagging nice Derann features and cut downs when they turn up (never got any back in the day; I was too young and / or had other interests).

            I did get a lovely Perry's Movies catalogue in the mid 1980s when I was 13 or 14 and I remember pouring over every page; most of the films were out of my price reach back then (and I only had a silent projector anyway, so the sound films were out of the question). I still have that catalogue and for the last five years or so, I have found it fun to try and find all of the films listed in it. I've probably got over two thirds so far, but plenty still to go at. I can even recognise the handwriting printed on the leader so even if there's no box and the leader's intact, I've a good idea that it's a Perry's print!


            • #7
              That's a good idea, Dave. I've probably watched all my films at least twice and the favored titles countless times. My niche collecting has taken a new turn recently. Collecting a title made by various companies. For instance, though slightly edited, I really like finding Laurel and Hardy features from other companies instead of Blackhawk. I LOVE finding they're early films with full original titles, and comparing sound/image quality is great fun. I think that the only obsessive element to my collection would be my optical sound films, which, I will sometimes buy a feature that I know nothing about!


              • #8
                A thought provoking question.

                I suppose the type of collector I am has changed over my years, now decades, of collecting. As a school boy with pocket money, it was the 50' silents as they were the quickest to purchase without really having to save. Naturally, I did get a few 200' ers but the collection was obviously very small and films were added at Christmas and birthdays.

                During my earning years, and particularly after discovering Blackpool in the late 1980's / early 90's, I went a bit mad. In those days it was certainly quantity over quality and, boy, did I come away with a pile of films for very little money. 200' and 400' colour / sound ! Certainly no features yet, though.

                In these later years, I seem to have done a "U" turn. It is now quality over quantity and, with the discovery of Ebay, full length features as well.
                The bulk "quantity" purchases were eventually sold on Ebay and the best ones weeded out and kept. The money made from these films went to finance the purchase of higher quality film releases. I'd never have been able to buy the recent Jurassic Park had it not been for Paypal. So, nowadays, the purchases are down to a "non mad" level, but the amount spent on them has certainly increased. But so what? It's my hobby!

                So.... the stuff I like?

                The Disney 200'ers / Tom & Jerry / Trailers / Interesting documentaries / GOOD 1, 2 and 3x 400' condensed features and, of course, selected full length ones, which have also now branched out into cinemascope and stereo where available.

                It has been a long and winding road. But it was, and still is, a wonderful stroll !


                • #9
                  I'm a fly by night with good intentions. Obsessive and lazy. You've all had a lifelong love for the hobby or profession. Me, I just bumped into it via digitizing the family's 8mm. I can appreciate the collective experience that's shared. And reading some of the post relating to the new cine releases, the work involved. There definately needs an experienced skill set. I guess I enjoy the learning behind the collecting of a subject. The subject being a bonus for me. Funny this question has popped up now. I've collected a fair few projectors (the hardware is my favourite) and discided to call it a day. At least with the projectors. I think I've got enough personal experience with them and veriety to say I got the right one for me. Nope, not selling any. They're all time investments for those Sunday evenings of tinkering 😊 That's hopefully where I can return some of the knowledge.


                  • #10
                    Basically I collect what I like, at the time. Also I am a bit (or a lot) of a hoarder so very little I have bought has been sold, excluding when I have managed to find a better quality copy. Not so many features as they take up too much space, though for a couple odd reels I have turned into a seeker to complete them.


                    • #11
                      I'm strictly into it for the fun of it, I never approach any hobby so seriously that it causes trouble anywhere else in life. Sometimes I buy films I think other people in the family will like: it's just good in-house PR!

                      I'm a generalist: if I see something I like, I will grab it even if it doesn't fit into categories I collect. I bought a Lassie film about two weeks ago, even though I don't have any other dog-based films.

                      Still, I'm a sucker for a good railroad film, and something close to a half of my collection fits this category.

                      I'm starting to notice I have likeable films I may watch every couple of years. In a sense it means I'm starting to have enough. This doesn't stop me from buying more, just makes me pickier about what I go after.

                      I read a story about a film collector that had to climb his stairs sideways for the cans of film on the steps. The wall across the bottom of the staircase was damaged because every so often he had an avalanche! It's a personal objective to not get even close to this point!


                      • #12
                        One word describes the type of collector I am


                        A little bit of everything over 400 titles on super eight for features everything on big reels 1200 foot

                        Many trailers cartoons and quite a few digest prints


                        • #13
                          I'd say I'm an average film collector for the most part. I appreciate the medium, and will watch things I can watch on Blu-ray if I can afford a film print. That being said, I sort of collect within my means. If I see a good deal on eBay I will grab it. I mainly buy my film two times a year at Cinesea. That is when I buy the most. Usually I will still ride the high of the event and purchase a few things online as the hobby is still fresh. The most I have spent on a print is probably around the $200 mark.

                          I mainly enjoy collecting feature films from the late 60's to early 80's. Also I like to collect industrial films, and shorts never seen anywhere else except for celluloid.

                          One of my favorite prints that I own is a print of the 1959 short Glass. A Dutch film with no spoken word, showing how glass in made.


                          • #14
                            The very moniker of "Shorty" tells my tale world-wide as the most persistent collector, dedicated collector and craziest collector...Been involved with this film rage for some fifty years; Original boxes is always my prime aim...while specializing in the small gauge (Super 8/Std 8/ 16 and 9.5) short subjects, scored, silent and talkies...have also branched to the foreign market with teasers, cartoons, trailers and the more-obscure shorts, especially early silents and talkies. I have features, newsreels/sport-reels...still have a standing want-list for certain Mountain, Piccolo, Red Fox, Derann, Powell, Glenn Photo, Blackhawk and others..Passed the 1000 film mark some time ago...Not obsessive, I take situations as somewhat easy-going, never aggressive, just quietly and secretly go after leads and connections, while amassing substantial knowledge in the technical realm as well...Cheers, Shorty


                            • #15
                              Someone mentioned documentaries. I think the only ones I have is the Blackhawk "Rise of the Model T's" and the very first Castle Films printing of the Hindenburg disaster, which I have always found fascinating, as the film stock has faded to a lovely Lavendar!