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Who was the person credited with the concept of a world's fair?

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World's Fair
by E.L. Doctorow

This novel tells the story of Edgar Altshuler, a 9-year-old boy from the Bronx, and his adventures at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. On his first visit to the fair, Edgar is enthralled by industry's vision of the futuresafe, secure and prosperous cities, speedy and cheap transportation and modern invention to make life easier. On his second visit, he sees that the exhibits are constructed of gypsum whose paint is peeling and that the displays are really toys.
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1964 NY World's Fair

Travel back in time to the 1964 New York World's Fair and take a tour of the fairgrounds. Though not sanctioned by the World's Fair Committee, it was still a spectacular exposition.
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1939 NY World's Fair Snowglobe

Tips for Beginning a Collection
by Bob Brooke


Collecting is an American pastime. It’s part of the American character. We collect just about everything. Antiques and collectibles make up the majority of American collections. But for many collecting begins as a impulse, often based on memories from their childhood.

To begin with, collect what you like, not something you think you should collect because it’s trendy. Don’t collect for investment. Instead, collect for the fun, for the thrill of the hunt. The fun of collecting is finding and purchasing objects.

Memories and Collecting
It’s been proven that memories drive collecting. The objects many people choose to collect usually relate to their childhood—the decorations in their parents’ home, their toys, things that they wished they had owned but couldn’t afford, and objects they bought for their first house.

Acquiring an object gives you the first information you have about it—where you discovered it, why you purchased it, what you paid for it. It gives you something to talk about when you don’t know anything else about the piece.

After acquiring a number of pieces, you’ll get involved with managing your collection— what pieces to add next, what pieces to add in the future, and what and how you choose to display it. For many collectors, selling an object ends their connection to it and can be a painful experience. So most true collectors hold onto their collections for their entire lives.

So if you’re going to put that much energy and effort into your collection, you need to do a few things right.

Tips for Beginners
To begin with, don’t start out with “wallet whipping”—that is, whipping out your wallet and going on a buying spree, buying every object in your chosen category without knowing anything about it.

Before starting a collection, you need to do some research in your chosen category. Learn what’s collectible, how much things are going for, and a general history of the pieces. Understand how to distinguish common from scarce examples, compare prices in a wide variety of markets, develop a collecting plan, or take into consideration the amount of money you have to spend or the space available to display and store your pieces. Wallet whipping wastes money—money you could use to build your collection.

Virtually everything you may choose to collect in antiques or collectibles has been mass-produced. So you need to find out how many examples might have been made and what their survival rate might be. You’ll discover that this first piece of information is extremely difficult to obtain since manufacturers have long coveted their production figures. And to further complicate the issue, many companies, which made the antiques and collectibles you want to collect, have long ago gone out of business. You can safely assume that the objects you’re considering for your collection were made in large quantities, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands. It’s smart to assume more than less.

Determining the survival rate of the objects you’re considering is easier. It used to be that collectors had to discover through various means how many of the objects had been sold at antiques shows, antique shops, and especially at auction. And based on the information they gathered, they could then place the object at somewhere between scarce and quite common.

Though the Internet has made this process easier, you have to be cautious when determining an object’s survival rate. Don’t make the mistake of many beginning collectors and only use eBay to see what’s selling and the general value of the objects you’re interested in. While eBay has demonstrated that the survival rate of objects is far higher than previously assumed, the prices that you may find on eBay aren’t necessarily the going rates. Many eBay sellers, themselves inexperienced, often inflate their asking prices. And the bidding process can drive the prices up beyond reasonable levels. It’s better to survey a number of online auction sites to get an overview of what’s happening with objects in your chosen category.

The easiest and safest approach is to assume the object at which you’re looking to buy is extremely common. The reason you’ve probably never seen one before is that you weren’t looking for one.

Don't Forget to Do Research
Once you have selected an object category you would like to collect, allow several months to do research. Most beginning collectors lack the patience to really look into an object’s history. Following the "I want it now" approach results in instant gratification, but it can also lead to costly mistakes.

To make sure you’re on the right track, obtain all available reference books dealing with the category. Read them, and don’t just look at the pictures. While there are many articles published by antiques trade magazines, there’s no index for them, so it’s nearly impossible to locate back articles dealing with your collecting category.

Join a collectors’ club for your chosen category, if there is one. And if the collectors' club has a newsletter, ask if you can purchase three or four years worth of back issues to study.

Search the Internet. Begin with a search looking for general information about the manufacturer and collecting category as a whole. Once you’ve completed your general search, start following eBay auction results. This is the first step to obtaining two key pieces of information— the frequency of appearance of objects and the price ranges in which they sell. Again, be cautious.

Get out into the field. With antiques and collectibles, Internet knowledge is no substitute for hands-on knowledge. The two go together. The field allows you to establish a list of antiques dealers from which you can make multiple purchases. Antiques dealers will often look for pieces for your collections if they know what you’re looking for.

Plan Ahead
Once you have done your homework, it’s time to make a list of the objects that you’d like in your collection. Prioritize your list and place the following information in columns: the name of the object, whether it’s easiest to find, more difficult to find, or hardest to find, and the amount the price range that you’re willing to pay. Use your list as a guide from which you can deviate when opportunity presents itself.

Purchase only objects that are complete and in very good or better condition. Don’t buy those of lesser quality and plan to upgrade. You probably won’t. When you do find a better example, you’ll put the lesser example in storage.

One thing is important to remember when beginning a new collection—common sense. You should use only discretionary income for your purchases. You need to set and stay within a budget. There are plenty of collecting opportunities no matter what your budget. Remember, you don’t have to buy constantly. You should add to your collection as your time and finances allow.

Also, collect based on the space you have available. Most people ignore this advice. Most collectors have less than one quarter of their collections on display. Remember, you've brought the collection into your life, not the other way around. Don't allow your collection to control your life. Live with it and make it part of your life. If the objects in your collection can be used, use them. However, if they’re more valuable, you may want to only display them.

Lastly, don't forget that collecting is an addiction. Sooner or later you'll be hooked. And there's no Collector's Anonymous to turn to for help.

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