[memories evoked by the Sunday Scribblings prompt money]
My dad kept things. Some things he kept "just in case" like rubber bands or twist ties from bread wrappers. He held onto a skillet he liked even though it was warped with a loose handle and we had bought a replacement.
Other things he collected because he had a plan for them. He wanted to make trivets or bulletin boards from wine bottle corks. He saved the metal from the top of the wine bottles (before they used plastic) to make a top out of. I don't know why he wanted a top, but he loved telling my brother and me how to make something using the lost-wax method.
He absorbed knowledge and collected books - there was no such thing as too many books for him. (I'm like him that way.) He collected seeds, leftovers from his gardening. He swapped some with other gardeners. He had a stamp collection, and although he was never able to interest us kids in it, I did learn how to carefully soak a stamp off an envelope.
But my dad's biggest collection, the one he spent the most time on, was his coin collection. I don't know when he started collecting coins. I do know that when he started, he realized that there were so many coins in the world, that he needed to focus on one thing. He decided to collect coins with ships on them.
By the time I was old enough to understand, my dad had coins with ships on them from all over the world, and from all time periods. And he had some that didn't have ships on them, ones he had come across and liked for one reason or another. There was a shelf in our library at home that was lined with copies of The Numismatist, a monthly publication filled with pictures of coins. My dad had stacks of little plastic envelopes to hold the coins, designed so that you could see both sides: the obverse and the reverse.
Most of the coins were kept locked away, though some were in albums in the library. But they were heavy and inconvenient to look at. My mom encouraged my dad to pick out his favorites and frame them. He ended up with a picture frame about 18" x 24" in which he had rows and columns with his favorite "ship" coins. It hung in their bedroom.
My mom and I each ended up with a necklace with a gold coin as a pendant and a bracelet with several gold coins on them. When I first got the bracelet, it had one gold coin on it. I got one additional coin for it each year until it had a total of 5 coins. I love that he selected each coin and fit each into a bezel, and that he carefully re-arranged where the coins hung on the bracelet so that they would be evenly spaced.
When my parents got ready to move to their retirement house, they sold nearly all of the collection to a dealer. I don't know the details, but I believe they got a fair price and the buyer seemed genuinely happy to have them. Now, the only coins left are the framed favorites, a handful of old English half-pennies, and the jewelry my mom and I have. But it makes me smile thinking of the pleasure the collection gave him.