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 collect those little sugar packets that you see in restaurants.

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

3. Phillumenists collect matchbooks and other match-related items. In the 1980s, The Guinness Book of World Records crowned Japan’s Teiichi Yoshizawa as the world’s top phillumenist thanks to his collection of over 700,000 different labels.

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

5. Vexillophiles collect and display flags.

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

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

9 & 10. 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 study and collect medals, badges, pins, and other military and civilian awards and decorations.

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

13. 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 have the cuddliest collections; they stockpile teddy bears.

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

16. Tyrosemiophiles collect cheese labels.

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

19. Brandophilists likely have to make at least one pilgrimage to Havana. It’s only fitting since they collect cigar bands.

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

Main image courtesy of INV/ALT design

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July 13, 2011 - 11:03am
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