RPG: Collecting (article)

798px-John_Everett_Millais_-_Ophelia_-_WGA15685Collecting Things: A Victorian Mania

The late Victorians, especially the wealthy, were great collectors of various items. This was a time when people had free time combined with money, and could begin to indulge in hobbies.

Some of the items which the Victorians collected are mentioned below. The collection of animal trophies is considered in an article on creating a trophy room for the characters.

Artwork: This is a hobby only for the wealthiest individuals in society. People have been collecting artwork since the time of the Classical World. Such collecting of artworks slumped in the Dark Ages, but it became of importance from the Renaissance onwards.

There are many private collections in Gas-Lamp Britain, up and down the country. But building a new such collection could be a very expensive hobby.

Books: A lot of characters will be bibliophiles, building up vast libraries of leather bound tomes.

One of the first manuals on book collecting was published in 1797 by Georg Wolfgang Panzer. It, over five volumes, attempted to list all of the incunabula (books published before 1501). That volume itself is now of interest to book collectors.

All wizards should have a library, of spellbooks (those books which actually contain spells) and books on Magick, which he will use for research. Most wizards will assemble as big a library as he can on all related occult subjects, from alchemy to astrology to hypnosis to books on the history of witchcraft.

Numismatics: This is the collection of coins, something of increasing popularity, but not as popular as philately.

The collecting of coins dates back as far as the 14th century. The poet, Petrarch, used to collect coins from classical Greece and Rome. The collecting of such coins remained a hobby for wealthy nobility for the next couple of centuries.

The hobby developed further in the 17th century, with scholars taking care to exclude coins which had been forged.

The hobby widened in the following centuries. In 1836 the Numismatic Society began publishing magazines for collectors. In 1873 the British Museum began issuing handbooks for collectors.

The most prized coins will be the rarest, those which have only a few examples extant.

Philately: This is the collection of postage stamps. The word was coined in 1864 by Georges Herpin, a Frenchman.

Stamp collecting began around over a year of the issuing of postage stamps in 1840. In 1861-62 the hobby had reached such a height that catalogues began to be issued for collectors. Magazines began to be printed at the same time.

Those still available include Gibbons Monthly Journal (see the Complete Equipment Guide).

Prince George, the grandson of Queen Victoria (and the son of Bertie, also known as Prince Albert Edward) is an avid collector of postage stamps.


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