Life! cover story, June 30, 2012 ©Singapore Press Holdings

After three consecutive posts about my travels, I thought it was time to talk about something else. So I turned to a group of people I often speak to for work, and who personally fascinate me: collectors.
If you haven’t seen today’s Life! cover story, it’s about the growing trend among people in their 20s and 30s who collect vintage stuff to decorate their homes: pencil leg furniture, old typewriters, 1960s commemorative stamps and more. Talking to the collectors that we profiled, it seems the market for retro items from the 1950s to the 1980s is growing. One girl who collects old photos told me that individual pieces at Sungei Road stalls can go for as much as $30.
Now, profiling collectors isn’t new to me. Since 2010, I’ve been helming the now monthly Collectors Series for Life!, where I talk to people who collect everything from comics to wrestling figures to vomit bags. But it’s interesting to see people of my generation (I was born in 1980) who have grown up, gained spending power and now long for the memories of their childhood.
In the case of David Wee, 29, one of the collectors I profiled, his house in Kembangan is a real treasure trove of old stuff. And you have to admire his commitment: he quit his civil servant job earlier this month to set up a business selling/loaning vintage stuff. I’m not sure how much he’s really going to sell, since so much of it is so dear to him. But take a look at some of the things he collects, and if you’re like me, it will bring back plenty of memories.

David Wee and his collection of about 150 soft drink glasses.

Vintage soft drink glasses from the collection of David Wee.

Chunky coin phones. Anyone know a kopitiam that still has these?

Tiffin carriers


F&N glass designs that have changed over the years


So what old stuff do you collect? Do tell me, I’d love to hear from you.