My sister took me to visit an old neighbor who wanted to show me her Scottie dog collection. It was colossal, amazing, and scary. Yes, scary. She had things that she had forgotten that she owned, all boxed up in the garage. Kathy and I both embrace collecting, but it can become an end unto itself and you forget why you’re collecting. You lose sight of collecting to enjoy a thing, and you accumulate just to check a box. Shirley realized this after 30 years of collecting her Scottie dogs, and is now looking to thin the herd (pack?), so to speak. She has moved the things that really speak to her into the house, and is in the process of going through the garage to decide what to sell. I thought it would be fun to show someone else’s collection to prove that we aren’t alone in the overenthusiastic collectors club. I hope this doesn’t come across as all judgey about Shirley; I walk in her shoes frequently.
First stop was the garage, so I could look at all the Scotties that were going to be on the block:
If you can think of a class of Scottie item, Shirley has two or three of them. We looked at the shelf of Scottie doorstops, the Scottie ashtrays, toys, and figures. There were many out and still more to be unpacked:
I admire her ambition to get all this sorted through. I might be tempted to just leave it for my executor and kids. Not Shirley; she has an amazing amount of energy.
Then we went into the house to see the real treasures. Shirley has been a patient collector through the years, hunting items through the internet, going to antique stores, attending auctions, and enlisting her friends to look for her. She is so proud of this radio:
She looked for this for years and finally a friend got it at an auction. It’s Bakelite, and as an added bonus, it works. If she were collecting for investment, this is an excellent buy as it appeals to lots of different collectors—Scottie dog, Bakelite, and vintage radios. Shirley only wanted it because it’s rare and has her favorite dog on the front.
Sorry that this next picture is kind of blurry. As always, my poor photography skills are challenged by low-light situations:
This clock is from the Black Forest of Germany, and you tell time by the marks around the eyes. It’s a pretty funny thing; I can’t imagine what it looks like when the eyes are moving to keep time. I also like that Shirley wrote down what she knows about the clock on the back. It’s helpful for family members when the time comes to go through the collection. Of course they don’t have her expertise, and that makes evaluating a collection tough.
I’ve always wondered why all of Shirley’s Scotties were called Bonnie:
I think this might be a clue. She really likes Scottie dog advertising and had lots of it all over the house. This was one of my favorites.
I thought this child’s shoe box was pretty sweet, too:
You can see how complete this collection is. She collected anything that had a Scottie on it. I knew she was my kind of person when she found a BAG of plastic window shade pulls that were Scottie shaped. I asked about Scottie buttons and jewelry, and she said she had tons of them, but we never got around to seeing them. 😦
The walls were covered in Scottie pictures, of course:
Again, I apologize for the quality of this photo. There was a ton of glare, but I think you can get the gist. The picture on the right is an Icart. I have a teeny, tiny Icart and this one made me drool!
Speaking of drooling, Shirley showed me her Steiff Scotties:
Yes, she has more than one, but this guy stole my heart. His collar says “Scotty” and he still has his button in his ear. There were a couple of smaller ones, and some other dogs too. I’m glad he made the cut to stay in the house.
This is one of two curio cabinets in the living room stuffed to the gills with Scotties:
I loved that Shirley could reach into this cabinet and pull out a piece and tell you all about it. She remembers where she bought it, who was with her, and how much she spent. That is real passion; I frequently can’t even remember if something is mine or Kathy’s.
I really liked the Art Deco lines on the cigarette case at the bottom left of the pictures:
She had several different cigarette cases, but this was my favorite. The brown compact is interesting too because it was leather, not metal. I kind of think the case on the top might be a calling card case.
Just when I thought we were winding down, Shirley would say, “Oh I gotta show you my (blank) collection. I really loved that she had her Scotties divided up this way:
Here are some of her planters, all cleaned up and looking for a houseplant. Even though she is thinking of selling them, she showed me her favorites, and couldn’t help touching them. I hope she keeps the little dog on the barrel in the center. That seemed to be special.
Another sign of collection completeness:
A Scottie smoking stand, with Scottie pipes. There is no one in the house that smokes, but she saw this and then was sucked in. I have to admit that the little Scotties forming the arch are pretty cute. It’s great how complete the piece is with its original ashtray.
Let’s end here, even though I have lots more pictures:
This is an orange Scottie pie bird! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It’s so specialized and crazy that it made me laugh. To Shirley, getting it was a great triumph, and she has it in a cabinet where she can see it every day. As a collector, life doesn’t get much better than that.
Thanks for reading! If any of you have a collection that you would like to share, drop us a line.
I think it’s fabulous that Shirley can tell you the story behind each piece in her collection. I hope she does write down as many of those stories as possible, not only to help others sort things out eventually, but just to have those memories. I think she should write a little book. I mean, really, I’ve not seen such an extensive collection of anything before where each piece has a story. I think it’s very COOL (and not just because it makes me feel a wee bit better about my own obsessions). Thanks for sharing!
I agree. I love folks that are passionate about any collection. [Deb here: Dawn, I’m going to pass on your suggestion to Shirley. My sister can help her and it will give them both a lot of joy! Thanks for the idea!]