For Collectors, One Special Monterey Event Has It All

Everybody collects “something”. In fact, anthropologists have discovered that collectors have existed all the way back to the beginning of human history. But why do we collect? The reason could be intellectual, aesthetic, or even emotional.

The item in question might be something that changes with the times—a century, decade, or even a single season—like a fad, but in almost every case, the most exciting collections have been built around a genuine, profound, and lasting interest in the works themselves.

For Petrolistas, it’s all about cars. Whether you own one or several, or even aspire to own a particular model, there is a good chance that you may want an accessory, or two, to complement it. Automakers are happy to sell you something from a website or catalogue, whether you own one of their cars or not. Ferrari and Porsche together sold almost $250-million dollars of branded merchandise in 2014. The bulk of these were baubles such as cufflinks, watches, leather wallets, shirts, jackets, and hats. But if those things happen to be too mainstream, Bugatti will be most happy to sell you a carbon fiber and titanium Hookah pipe for a cool $100,000, and Koenigsegg would no doubt love to sell you a lovely keyring for one of their cars you undoubtedly don’t own for only $520.

But if you find those items too expensive, too commonplace, and too new, you may find yourself searching out automobilia. Automobilia is vintage memorabilia for cars, and can be almost anything automotive: vintage posters, photographs, brochures, catalogues, correspondence, signed items, badges, books, models, gas pumps, neon signs, original artwork, hood ornaments, trophies, and signs. Of course, our two-wheeled brethren aren’t left out, either.

The ties that bind are that the items can be related to some sort of motor vehicle, racing, or even a personality. Prices can range from a few dollars for an old car club grille badge, to $155,000 for a functioning, authentic ex-Works Ferrari engine dynamometer! Much like the burgeoning market for classic cars, automobilia prices are on the rise too. Most of the major auction houses offer automobilia items for bid at their sales, too.

Where else can one find automobilia? Well, life is one big treasure hunt if you know where to look. The internet has numerous options like eBay, Craigslist, and other retail sites dedicated just these items.

But in my opinion, nothing surpasses being able to discover these items in real life, and being able to see, and touch them. That could mean going to your local swap meet, or a dedicated show. You might even score a deal. One event I’m looking forward to is Automobilia Monterey, which takes place during Monterey car week. Established by collector Tony Singer, it is billed as America’s biggest show of its kind.

Held early on during the Monterey Car Week on Tuesday and Wednesday August 11-12, the show attracts many of the world’s best vendors and much of the world’s best memorabilia. If you’re looking to shop, be sure to attend with an empty, rolling carry-on bag in tow!

For more info on this event, please view our event calendar or visit

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