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Top 10 Collectibles for Eccentrics

by Zabrina
fact checked by Alex Hanton

Have you always wondered what eccentrics really collect besides creepy jars of suspended liquids like the movies might show? There are plenty of boring, ordinary collectibles like shot glasses or teaspoons, but here are the top 10 collectibles that you can actually pick up yourself without spending a fortune on Elvis’ eyelashes or getting in trouble with the law! If you are more keen on collectibles that are downright weird and likely to make your friends avoid you, check out our other lists Top 10 Bizarre Collectibles and Top 10 Macabre Collectibles.

10Antique Silver


From Grandma’s silverware to rare silver ornamental weapons, there are plenty of antique silver objects to collect. You can readily find these items in online stores, by visiting auctions, or even by combing through pawn shops, depending on how hands-on you like to get. In terms of the sheer number of collectors, this is one of the top ten, and you can easily narrow it down to specific items – for instance, collecting only silver gravy boats or trowels if you want to put an unusual twist on a commonly-collected category of items.

9Coke Bottles and Merchandise


The heyday of Coca Cola saw a lot of interesting and unusual Coke bottle designs, tin signs, and other unusual merchandise that could even be classified as vintage. Everything from serving trays from the ’30s to apothecary scales given to druggists in the late 1800s are available if you know where to look. The brand is recognized worldwide, and to help with early marketing efforts, calendars and specially contoured bottles are a few more examples of easily obtainable items. You can focus on bottles alone, tie-in merchandise, promotional items, or things from a particular decade.

8 Pressed Coins

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Many tourist attractions have machines where you can insert a penny or sometimes another coin to be pressed and another to pay the fee (a quarter or two is a common fee), then choose the design you’d like to engrave the penny with. You can watch as the machine does it or hand-roll it yourself, pushing the handle until the roller squashes the penny and imprints a design based on the destination. Even if you’ve never been to these places, it can be fascinating to see the wide variety of creative and elaborate designs all pressed into the same starting material. It’s a new twist on the same boring old coin collections that everyone has.

7 Salt and Pepper Shakers


This is one of the easiest and yet most fun kind of collectibles out there. You can find an almost unlimited variety of salt and pepper shakers designed for elegance or to promote something, for hobbyists or for amusement. You can easily limit your collection to naughty or nautical salt and pepper shakers, for instance, or pick up anything that makes you laugh. A nice shelf in the kitchen is perfect for displaying them, and you can use some of your favorites when visitors come over.

6Buddhas or Another Deity


The trend of decorating one’s home with Buddhas may be a relatively recent one, but it’s still popular in many circles. Yet Buddha figurines existed long before the West started to collect them, so you can find an astonishing variety made from various materials, in all sizes and shapes, and at all prices. Other collectibles might be a particular Hindu deity, crucifixes, voodoo artifacts, or Green Man plaques. Depending on what catches your fancy, you can make your collection as specific as you like.

5 Collect an Animal

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You might not be able to legally keep cheetahs as a pet, but you can collect cheetah-themed objects instead! Pick your favorite animal, and then start keeping an eye out for collectibles around the theme. Don’t limit yourself to stuffed animals, either. Cards, posters, coins, statues, and furniture can all have these themes. Some common choices of collectible animals to get you thinking about which one you want to collect themed products of: pandas, frogs, dolphins, whales, roosters, elephants, horses, and otters. You can, of course, actually collect real animals – dead ones!

4 Autographed Books


You could look out for “first editions” or books in a particular genre if you want to keep your collection specific. If you have a common name, you can even try looking for books autographed by the author and addressed to a person with the same name as you! You might focus on older books published before a certain year, or only illustrated books. Whichever books get you really interested as you walk through an old bookstore – collect them!

3 Trading Cards

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Whether this means baseball cards, cards from games, or advertising cards, there are all kinds of trading cards out there to collect. If you have a favorite sports team, look out for every available trading card from players on that team, or focus on a specific player. You can find trading cards with original art or mass-produced trading cards. Depending on the type of trading card collection you decide on, this could be either a very expensive hobby (for limited-edition or vintage cards) or a relatively easy one.

2 Quack Medical Items


It’s amazing what entrepreneurs came up with when they wanted to sell to the unsuspecting public! In decades past, someone would come to town with a miracle tonic, stir up hype, and leave town in the night before people discovered that it didn’t work. More widely-produced quack medical solutions had to be advertised in papers and came with packaging, cards, or other collectible items. You can make this a fascinating look into the not-so-distant past and medical remedies we would laugh at now.

1 Lunchboxes

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Kids today might bring lunch bags or buy lunch at school, but it wasn’t long ago that everyone had a lunchbox. Even workers at construction sites brought lunchboxes, though they were a little less collectible or unique in most cases! Collecting lunchboxes is a great way to get in touch with what was popular at one time and feel a bit of a connection to the kids who had the best lunchboxes – or the weirdest.

Collectibles for eccentrics vary from the downright bizarre (who collects skulls except movie villains, anyway?) to the normal. If you want to collect these things yourself, you can easily end up with one of those eccentric collections everyone wants to know about if you just limit yourself to particular types of items or those made at particular times. As collectors often say, the thrill is in the hunt!

fact checked by Alex Hanton