The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector. Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world. Others focus on a subtopic within their area of interest, perhaps 19th century postage stamps, milk bottles from Sussex, or Mongolian harnesses and tack.
Some novice collectors start purchasing items that appeal to them, and then slowly work at acquiring knowledge about how to build a collection. Others (more cautious or studious types) want to develop some background in the field before starting to buy items. The termantique generally refers to items made over 100 years ago. In some fields, such as antique cars, the time frame is less stringent—25 years or so being considered enough time to make a car a “classic” if not an antique. Traditionally in the area of furniture, the 1830s was regarded as the limit for antique furniture. However Victorian, Arts and Crafts, and some types of 20th century furniture can all be regarded as collectible.
In general, then, items of significance, beauty, values or interest that are “too young” to be considered antiques, fall into the realm of collectibles. But not all collectibles are limited editions, and many of them have been around for decades: for example, the popular turn-of-the-century posters, Art Deco and Art Nouveau items, Carnival and Depression era glass, etc. In addition, there exists the “contemporary collectibles” category, featuring items like plates,figurines, bells, graphics,steins, and dolls.
Many collectors enjoy making a plan for their collections, combining education, stimulation and experimentation to develop a personal collecting style; and even those who reject the notion of “planned collecting” can refine their “selection skills” with some background information on the methods of collecting.