Collecting in the Known and Unknown World
So how does such material make its way from the bottoms of boxes and the distant corners of attics to you? It most often passes through the hands of dealers who may not recognize its relevance to particular collectors, libraries and historians but who, from years of experience, recognize general relevance and interest and so include descriptions in online and eBay listings and take boxes of hard to describe disparate itms to shows for the knowledgeable to sunder. To encourage both the acquirer and the seller the Comet this month focuses on these fireflies, perhaps the single most interesting form of collecting accessible today and the one that most emphasizes ingenuity over money although rare and important ephemera costs every bit as much as the best books. The reality is that most ephemera these days is cheap, which is recognition that the material is hardly known, often misunderstood and generally not pursued - simply for lack of awareness it exists. Books have their bibliographies but ephemera, at least a thousand times larger in scope, has no similar "bibles." In its description, sale, pursuit and purchase knowledge is everything and very few have a strong hold on the facts. Hence the unparalleled opportunities for collectors to pursue extraordinary collections at minimal cost and virtually no downside financial risk to affirm, confirm, elaborate and or rebut specific history be it of a place, a time, events, or simply attitudes.
As collections of such material are built it will become possible to develop more accurate understanding of where we were. In the comparison to where we are today the differences become measurable and themselves the subject of intense study as to why so much was written off and edited out - the film editor's out-takes rediscovered, reinserted and re-evaluated for purpose.
Here then is a link to more than 500 pamphlets and ephemera offered by members of the Americana Exchange.