Hello Fellow Vintage Cufflink Enthusiast!
My name is David and I have been a vintage and antique cufflink collector for over 25 years. I have wanted to write a little piece about some of the guidelines in cufflink collecting for sometime now; ever since I realized I had thousands of cufflinks an no catalogued record.
The area of vintage & antique cufflink collecting is new relatively speaking because these little ornaments, as we know them, have only been around for a little less than 300 years. I would imagine that gentlemen have been collecting them for the same amount of time for one pair is never quite enough because wearing them is about emotions & feelings and we or not mono-emotional creatures. I really don't want to talk so much about the history of the cufflink in this expression but more about how to start, catelogue and house a cufflink collection.
Under 100 pair - a NOVICE collector
When starting a cuff link collection, the novice collector is pretty much like a kid in a candy store; at least I was in the early stages. Like with all things in life, there are exceptions for I have known a few novice collectors that knew the exact direction they wanted their collection to go from the very start; however, most need to investigate the possibilities before making such an important decision.
I find that as one heads toward becoming a serious collector, one will notice that there are certains types, styles or categories of links that he/she will feel more connected to than others. It is this inevitable conclusion that will determine the direction of your collection. You may find that a pair that you were very excited about when you purchased them now seem trite, crude or common. This is the normal progression of the process and will continue to evolve as you become more knowlegeable and refine your taste.
My suggestion concerning this process is to allow it to happen by being smart in your buying and having an outlet for the links you have out grown or no longer want. I will talk about smart buying and outlets later. For now I want to make you aware that vintage cufflinks span the gammit of the collectable world. Think of a collectable and I am almost certain someone somewhere has either made a cufflink out of it or created a miniature example for the purpose of wearing as a cufflink.
Some examples are: Cars, paper weights, watches, paintings, buildings & monuments, money, artifacts, stamps, porcelain, cameras, slot machines, musical instruments, pens, tools just to name a few and of recent; computers & cell phones and the list goes on . . . and on . . .
Some harder to find examples are: Functioning crap tables & games, cocktail shakers that shake, figural TV sets & typewriters, traffic signals & lanterns that light, animals with moveable heads & apendages and the list goes on . . . and on . . . and on . . .
Cufflinks can be collected for the sole purpose of wearing these little works of art in relation to something personal like a hobby, an occupation or just to complete an ensamble.
They can be collected for the purpose of aquiring examples of a specific style, closing mechanism, material, manufacturer, technique of production or designer.
One can also collect cufflinks to acquire examples of historical events, business advertising, famous ownership, figural miniatures, novelty links and again, the list goes on . . . and on . . . and on . . . and on . .