Local Charity Collects from Collectors

This article was written in Fall 2012 as part of a writing class at the University of Victoria.  Because of the time between writing and in-class review it was no longer viable for publishing outside of the class, but for posterity I’ve put it up here with some bonus photos as well!

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Victoria collected in a big way at this weekend’s third annual All Collectibles Show at Pearkes Recreation Centre.  Vancouver Island’s Most Amazing Collectible Show (VIMACS) chose the local charity as partial beneficiary for the second year in a row.

Event organiser Al Coccola shows off the third annual VIMACS program.  VIMACS 2012 raised over $7000 for BBBS Victoria!

Event organiser Al Coccola shows off the third annual VIMACS program. VIMACS 2012 raised over $7000 for BBBS Victoria!

Event organizer Allen Coccola, an accountant by profession, picked BBBS, a charity that matches children with adult mentors, as the charity after being a member of their board for six years.

Joining BBBS for the first two-day VIMACS show were 75 dealers from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland selling products on 125 tables.  Subjects ranged from Roman-era coins to Wrestlemania figurines, comic books to dental picks.  While nine dealers hawked rare comics, stamps are still among the most popular of collectibles.

“Stamps are collected all over the globe,” said Bill Bartlett, a collector who also sits on the Canada Post Stamp Advisory Committee.  “They may be in a slight decline, but that’s the same for all collectibles.”

Local collecting expert Bill Bartlett shows off some prized illustrations from a popular children's book.

Local collecting expert Bill Bartlett shows off some prized illustrations from a popular children’s book.

Coccola agrees that collecting finds a limited audience in today’s internet generation.

“When I was a kid I collected everything,” said Coccola, dressed in a ‘Lucky Larry’ leprechaun outfit.  “Sportsmen Cigarette packages, coins, comics, things I found on the street.  Young people still collect comics, but you can download them now.  You need disposable income to collect and most people don’t have that or won’t use it.”

20 collectors were lined up by 8:30 a.m. on Saturday for early bird access with another 30 arriving before the general opening.  Most refused to give their names or tell what they were looking for because of the high stakes of collecting in a poor market.

“It’s all competitive and if I tell you it won’t be a secret anymore,” said one collector who preferred to remain anonymous.   “I don’t want you to know what I know.  You’d be lucky to get 10-15% of catalogue value [for stamps] now anyways.  I collect penny blacks, which were the first stamps ever, and they’re not moving at all.”

Chad Stewart, dressed as the Joker, holds a rare edition of the comic Joker.

Chad Stewart, dressed as the Joker, holds a rare edition of the comic Joker.

“It’s making a comeback,” said an optimistic Chad Stewart, 40 of JigglyPig Comics, who dressed as the Joker to get in the spirit of things.  “The movies are dragging comics along.”

“Most of the dealers did well dollar wise,” said Coccola.  “It was our first two-day show so lots of things to consider for next time.”

BBBS raised in excess of $7,000 at the event.

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