Monday, April 12, 2010

Brad's Collection and Display

Occupying an entire wall of his Northern Virginia home, Brad's collection just broke through the 1,000 souvenir buildings mark recently and is still growing. It all began when his significant other told him to get a hobby. Since he always enjoyed architecture, he began purchasing items from Dixie Trainer's website as well as building makers DJ and Microcosms n 2004. "I then found eBay." Brad said. "Lastly, I started with the antique stores and hobby shops - sort of the opposite of most collectors." What was his first replica? "I think it was the Petronas Towers from Microcosms. I am still glad I got this one, I have yet to see a Petronas more to scale and just hardy as this one." Why does he collect souvenir replicas? "I wish I knew." Brad said. "I can't explain why but I enjoy just starring at the collection, holding the little fellas in my hands, it sort of makes you feel bigger than what you are. When you hold say a Comcast Center replica in your hands then stand at the base of the real building, it's just neat." Brad specializes in TV Towers and Russian/Commie Kitsch miniature replicas. When asked, which is your favorite and why? Brad replied, "It varies depending on the day. Right now I am keen on a 25" very heavy Berlin Fernmeldeturm replica that lights up via an internal 225v bulb. I have also had my days liking Stockholm City Hall (90s 7" replica). I am also quite fond of replicas I obtain while on trips," He said. "I bought about 10 buildings during a 2-week trip in Germany a few years back. I packed them very tightly in my luggage and securely. Then, I got to Heathrow (this is why I refuse to fly through Heathrow anymore). They made me take everything out, rummaged through everything, left the buildings out all over the inspection station, then just said, "OK you can go" and left me having to repack everything which took me 45 minutes. I almost missed my flight if it hadn't been for a very nice USAir employee who let me hop on their little Cushman and drove me to the gate which was in a totally different terminal! During the trip, the employee driving told me she saw a Milan Cathedral replica I bought (not a very nice one, was resin) and she grew up not far from it in Italy - so I gave it to her. Of course, had it been a metal or antique one, I think I would've thought twice." These days, Brad acquires his souvenir building from eBay and friends overseas. "I have given up on finding anything in local antique stores." Recently, Brad believes eBay has become overpriced and he does not obtain as much joy from buying via eBay as he used to. "It's all very "cut-throat" and nothing is worse than losing an auction on an item only to find someone else re-list that same item on their own eBay site for twice as much. But, that's Ebay," He says. To display his collection, he uses 'Detolf' cabinets from Ikea for reasons of building preservation. "I have to have enclosed cases because of 4 cats. It also cuts down on the dust, but it does put a damper on picking them up. People tend to be afraid of things behind glass." While Brad is a member of the Souvenir Building Collectors Society, he has not made it to a convention yet. "It always falls on an annual vacation date." As his collection grows, Brad has now been focusing on more antique replicas. Click through the photo gallery below to see Brad's impressive collection.

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