Fandom Merchandise and Where to Find It

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​As I look at my Christmas gifts, and my recent birthday gifts before that, I am struck, but not terribly surprised by how much relates to the variety of fandoms and pop culture things I am involved in. Many of these things have stayed with me since my teen years, to the point that I no longer participate, but they still hold an important place in my heart. The one example that comes to mind was my getting a new messenger bag: ThinkGeek’s Bag of Holding. It’s so glorious that I’ll be writing a separate review of it. My son was a little annoyed that I would be getting it – it was a little expensive, but with the thirty percent discount that was offered, it was well worth it. He was still a little annoyed and exclaimed, “You don’t even like Dungeons & Dragons!” I think I may have snorted. I was momentarily speechless.

I don’t like Dungeons & Dragons?! Do you even know me?! I had been playing Dungeons & Dragons since high school. In our school cafeteria, we would use the half-pint milk container as a six-sided die. Every weekend in college, we’d get together in the blue room to play. Dave, our DM (dungeon master) would not let us have any alcohol. We got stupid. We were probably the only group on a Saturday night not drunk. We would play all weekend, talking time only to sleep before the next night’s game.

I met my college roommate in a study hall through a conversation about character sheets.

My oldest son used my original books when he and his friends played Dungeons & Dragons.

Not a fan?! Harumph!

Glancing at The Walking Dead trivia box, the Hufflepuff necklace, the Supernatural zipper bag, the Star Trek 50th anniversary gold ornament with sound, I saw just how many fandom things there are, and I also realized how difficult it was to get some of them.

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The Post Office, Part 1

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Starting at the top, clockwise: Lapel pin of America Responds stamp, Ornament commemorating 100 Years of Letters to Santa through the US Postal Service, America Responds stamp sheet, Harvey Milk stamp sheet, plastic mailbox to hold stamps or Valentine’s. (c)2016

Starting at the Top, clockwise: Baseball Sluggers, Sunday Funnies, Star Wars, Disney Magic, Super Heroes Chapter Two, Animals, Super Heroes Chapter One, Disney Romance, Star Trek. (c)2016

Collections

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There’s the largest ball of twine and dryer lint, Coke bottles, and spectacles, but for most people collecting is a little more subdued. For each of us collectors we all have our origin stories, how we began collecting our treasures, our first whatever. We get all excited and starry eyed talking about our things and hope in our reverie that our audience’s eyes haven’t glazed over while they go over their shopping list in their heads.

For me, I’ve had several collections over the years for a multitude of reasons. When I did historical re-enactment, I collected all manner of books on the Middle Ages: art, children’s history, fiction. When I was a teacher, I collected children’s cooks. I’m always on the lookout for Jewish stories for children. After my first visit to Wales. I’ve collected both history books and travel ones. Books are big in our family. My husband and middle son collect comic books (and action figures). My daughter’s love is fashion – reading about it, wearing it, and designing it.

When I travel, I still collect pins and postcards and foreign money, especially coins, and ask friends to collect it for me since I travel so infrequently. I also collect griffins and pewter pieces.

My mother collected stamps. My brother has her collection, and she started getting my son some when he was a baby, like dinosaurs, comic strips, super heroes, etc. We still do that, but we’re more selective as they relate to our interests (Batman, Star Wars, and the like. I recently bought a sheet of Harvey Milk.) There is something for everyone.

I have a couple of church friends who collect Mary (the Blessed Mother) statues from their world travels.

In an informal poll on my Facebook, I was surprised by the diversity of people’s collections, some I’d heard of, but many I had not even considered. Demographically speaking, not including myself, respondents were ten female and two male, ages between 21 and 71. Orientation was evenly split for those that identify publicly and all but two were the same race. Most religious practices were unknown to me, but two are Jewish and five are practicing Christians with various degrees of devotion. All but one are college educated with four still in college. Jobs include administrative assistant, nurse/LPN, teacher, nanny, EMT, with two in the insurance industry.

Here is a rundown of the collections; maybe you’ll find one of your collections on this list:

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