Art collector or antique Shop Owner in his apartment corridor.

What motivates the collector to start amassing certain types of treasures? Is it the pleasure of pursuit, the joy of discovery or the experience of collecting that drives the collector?

Whether it’s cookie jars, rubber ducks or even musical saws, the strange becomes special in the eyes of an unconventional collector. We’ve interviewed homeowners who have a knack for curating the curious with these creative collectibles.

His and Hers

What do arcade machines and Snoopy have in common? Well, in the Aulenbachers’ Pennsylvania house, they share the same display room, just divided in two.

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

“On one half of the room, his arcade machines and classic video games adorn the space, and on the other half, I have my Snoopy shelf,” said Carrie Aulenbacher. Carrie and her husband Joseph don’t let different styles stop them from displaying their collections in a shared space.

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

“We have both been collecting for many years and enjoy the thrill of the hunt,” said Carrie. The Aulenbachers even created a Facebook page to connect with fellow collectors in the Erie, Pennsylvania area and aid them in their search for treasures.

“We do it just for fun,” said Carrie. “It’s a way to bond and encourage each other and others to explore their passions and enjoy what sparks their imaginations!”

Cutting Edge Compositions

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Known as the Saw Lady, Natalia Paruz actually composes melodies with her compilation of musical saws. The New Yorker began her uncommon collection 20 years ago when a Korean artist painted her playing during a concert and gave her the painting as a thank-you for the experience of the performance. After that, Paruz’s search began for all things related to the musical saw.

With such an unusual subject, one can imagine that her memorabilia collection is quite unique. Paruz’s collection includes carpenter handsaws, as well as saws made for musicians, paintings of saw players, figurines of animals and even Santa Claus making melodies on a musical saw. If musical saws don’t stir your soul, you can still bring harmony to your home with this musically inspired home style guide for music lovers.

Cookie Crumb Trail

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

If you give Carol Boshears a cookie, she’ll probably want to find a jar for it. Along with her husband Jim, Carol has collected hundreds of cookie jars over the past several years.

“Most are vintage, some are newer; some are part of a theme collection,” said Carol. Their first find was Elsie the Cow, a vintage cookie jar from the mountain ranges outside of Pittsburgh. “We went wild after that,” she said. “We found the cookie jars to be an item that makes you smile, and the variety is mind-boggling, too.”

Board Game Bygones

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

For many collectors, the memories attached to the novelties assembled are as valuable as the collection itself. According to a popular quote by German philosopher Walter Benjamin, “Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.” Jenny Kile grew up playing board games and wanted to relive those memories when she had her own four children.

“I had remembered certain games I played when I was younger and wanted to play them with my children, so I started looking for those games like Stop Thief, Careers or Scotland Yard,” she said

While searching for these classic games, she fell in love with the artwork and history of antique board games from the 1800s.

“My love for playing games turned into a love for learning more about the history of games, and then collecting them about 15 years ago,” she said. She even created a website to share with others her passion for play. Perhaps sometimes, collecting can be all fun and games.

One Woman Wonder

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

For Vivian Eisenstadt, getting a custom-made costume in 2000 was just the beginning of her Wonder Woman acquisitions. Eisenstadt’s search started alongside the popularity of eBay, which accelerated her treasure hunt.

“So it wasn’t just about collecting Wonder Woman memorabilia, it was also about winning on eBay,” she said. Her collection has grown to an appraised and insured Wonder Woman room with hundreds of the comic book and TV heroine’s memorabilia.

American Treasure: An Inside Look at Homeowners’ Personal Collections - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

“Now with the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie coming out this year, there are so many Wonder Woman items coming out that I have to contain myself so far for budgeting reasons,” said Eisenstadt.

While some collectors may prefer to stash their treasures behind hidden doors, many people enjoy displaying their items within their homes. Unusual collections can bring your home’s style to life as well as sparking interesting conversations around the dinner table.

Inspired by the work of these unique collectors? Consider these things when buying an uncommon home.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Thanks for the shout out about our hidden door products, Kevin!

    Cool look at some collections – I like the board games a lot!

    1. Glad you liked it, Jon! This one was actually written by my friend Lydia. We do like to highlight all sorts of cool stuff!

      1. Hhmmm...Im literally just now starting the online uction(s) of my book-collection & ephemera, which will gnerate the costs of the downpayment says:

        Hhmmm…Im literally just now starting the online auction(s) of my book-collection & ephemera, which will gnerate the cash to cover the costs of the downpayment & closing of the home I’ve already located here in Clarksville, TN. Your article was as enjoyable as it was timely. When I saw a picture of a bookcase filled with something within your article I even thought your story was to include a portion on that subject her & dear to my heart…. But, “close enough,” and I thank YOU ALL!

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