Nurturing Your Curiosities: How to Start a Collection of Antique Curios

Wednesday 20th September 2023 - Cara Bentham


Nurturing Your Curiosities: How to Start a Collection of Antique Curios

Collecting antique curios is an exciting and unconventional hobby.

It can even be a great investment opportunity or business. In this post, we explore the wonderful world of antique curios, discovering exactly what they are and the benefits of collecting them. Then, we explain everything you need to know before starting your own antique curios collection.

What are antique curios?

Much like general antiques, antique curios are collectible items or objects that hold historical, cultural, or artistic significance due to their age, rarity, or unique characteristics. However, antique curios specifically refer to unique or curious items from the past, often valued for their eccentricity, rarity, or intriguing characteristics. While general antiques can include a wide variety of items, antique curios tend to be those that pique collectors' interests due to their unusual or fascinating nature, such as odd trinkets, unusual tools, or quirky memorabilia. These items provide a window into the past, offering insights into different eras, cultures, and artistic movements.

Why collect antique curios?

Collecting antique curios offers a distinct set of benefits compared to collecting general antiques. Antique curios often hold a unique charm, as they are chosen for their quirkiness, rarity, or intriguing stories. They provide collectors with a fascinating glimpse into the past and can spark conversations and curiosity among enthusiasts and visitors alike. Additionally, antique curios can be more budget-friendly compared to collecting high-end antiques. This makes them accessible to a wider range of collectors and a great starting point for beginners.

The hunt for antique curios can be an exciting adventure, as collectors never know what unexpected and captivating treasures they might uncover. There is always the chance of discovering a hidden gem that can be purchased cheaply yet turns out to worth much more. Part of the fun of collecting antique curios is the opportunity to do some digging to discover the stories behind each item. Overall, collecting antique curios is a delightful and varied approach to appreciating history and craftsmanship.

How to start an antique curios collection

Perhaps you’re keen to delve into the fascinating world of antique curios but don’t know where to start. The following tips can help you begin your adventure and build it into a rewarding hobby, or even a business:

Define your interests

To start an antique curios collection, you should first define your specific interests. What quirky or unusual items fascinate you the most? Do you have a passion for vintage toys, odd gadgets, or peculiar memorabilia? Knowing your interests will guide your search and make collecting more enjoyable. However, the joy of antique curios is that you don’t need to narrow your options too much. This step is about choosing a starting point, but you can always expand on this later if you wish.

Research and learn

It's essential to educate yourself about the curiosities you're interested in. Read books, articles, and online resources to gain knowledge about the history, origins, and value of these items. Attend antique shows, museums, and exhibitions to see a variety of curios up close and interact with knowledgeable collectors.

Set a budget

Determine how much you're willing to spend on your collection. Antique curios can vary greatly in price, so setting a budget helps you stay focused and avoid overspending. Remember, part of the charm of collecting curios is finding affordable treasures. In time, you may consider selling some items for a profit and reinvesting the money into more valuable treasures but it’s always good to start small and work up. Begin your collection with a few select pieces. Look for items that resonate with you and fit your budget. This allows you to gain experience and gradually expand your collection over time.

Shop smart

Explore various sources for antique curios, such as antique shops, charity shops, estate sales, car boot sales and online marketplaces. Be patient and take your time to search for unique finds. Don't be afraid to negotiate prices wherever possible.

Document and catalogue

Keep detailed records of your collection, including item descriptions, provenance, purchase dates, and any historical information you discover. Cataloguing your curiosities enhances your understanding of their value and history. It is also good practice if you want to turn your hobby into a business later on.

Connect with collectors

Join online forums, social media groups, and local collector clubs related to your chosen curiosities. Networking with fellow collectors can provide valuable insights, tips, and opportunities to buy, sell, or trade items. It also adds an enjoyable social element to this pastime.

Preservation and care

Antique curios, like general antiques, require proper care to maintain their condition. Learn how to clean, store, and protect your items to prevent deterioration over time. You can research this online, either based on the items themselves or the materials they are made from.

Enjoy the hunt

The thrill of searching for unique and eccentric curiosities is a significant part of the collecting experience. Enjoy the adventure and embrace the surprises you encounter along the way. Perhaps you could make day trips of the experience, going further afield to search for treasures.

Share your collection

Share your passion for antique curios with others. Display your collection in your home or create a dedicated space to showcase your treasures. Having the opportunity to share your enthusiasm with friends and family can make your collection even more rewarding. You can also post in forums and online groups, showcasing your finds with other enthusiasts.

Collecting antique curios is an exciting and unconventional hobby that allows you to discover charm and beauty in unusual and bizarre antique items. Follow the tips in this post to begin diving into this fascinating world with your very own antique curios collection.