20 Obscure Words to Describe Collectors

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You probably know that numismatists study and collect coins and currency, and you may even know that philatelists study and collect stamps. But other groups of collectors have their own less-heralded nouns, too. Here are just a few other words you can break out the next time you meet a collector.

1. Sucrologists

Sucrologists collect those little sugar packets that you see in restaurants.

2. Deltiologists

Deltiologists study and collect postcards. The word comes from the Greek word deltion, the diminutive of deltos, or “writing tablet.”

3. Phillumenists

Phillumenists collect matchbooks and other match-related items. In 2011, phillumenist Steven Smith earned a place in The Guinness Book of World Records for his collection of 1,054,221 matchbox labels from more than 130 countries.

4. Pannapictagraphists

Pannapictagraphists could probably stand to come up with an easier name for their hobby: collecting comic books.

5. Vexillophiles

Vexillophiles collect and display flags.

6. Plangonologist

Remember George Costanza’s doomed fiancée Susan on Seinfeld? She was a plangonologist, or collector of dolls.

7. Velologists

Velologists collect and study expired specimens of the tax discs that British vehicles have been required to display since the beginning of 1921.

8. Arenophiles

Arenophiles collect sand samples from around the world. They particularly prize rare samples of black or green sand from certain beaches.

9 & 10. Tegestologists & Labeorphilists

Tegestologists have a great excuse to spend time in bars since they collect coasters or beermats. They should probably team up with labeorphilists, or collectors of beer bottles.

11. Falerists

Falerists study and collect medals, badges, pins, and other military and civilian awards and decorations.

12. Scutelliphiles

Scutelliphiles are similar to falerists, but they collect souvenir patches and badges.

13. Lotologists

Lotologists collect lottery tickets, both used and unused. In 2006 reports claimed that retired U.S. Navy diver Dennis Morse had one of the world’s largest lotology collections. It included over 250,000 losing scratch-off tickets.

14. Arctophiles

Arctophiles have the cuddliest collections; they stockpile teddy bears.

15. Galanthophiles

Galanthophiles are avid collectors of the various cultivars of the small white-flower-bearing plant known as the snowdrop.

16. Tyrosemiophiles

Tyrosemiophiles collect cheese labels.

17. Fusilatelists

Fusilatelists collect phone cards issued by telecom companies. The word is apparently largely used in the U.K. On this side of the pond, calling card collectors are known as telegerists.

18. Helixophiles

Helixophiles probably throw the best parties; they study and collect corkscrews.

19. Brandophilists

Brandophilists collect cigar bands.

20. Entredentolignumologists

Entredentolignumologists may or may not exist, but some books and several websites use this mouthful to describe collectors of toothpick boxes.

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July 13, 2011 - 11:03am
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