New Year = New Boy Scout Collection Focus

After having been an Order of the Arrow collector for more than twenty-five years I am turning over a new leaf. For most of my time as a collector and low-level dealer in Boy Scout memorabilia I stuck with what I knew. Growing up I was a Lodge Chief and Section Chief in the OA and that was always my focus in collecting. I finished my lodge collection in 1992 and spent the next two decades putting together a very advanced collection of OA issues from all the lodges in North and South Carolina including a couple in GA.


DSCN0075At the 2014 Dixie Fellowship which my home lodge hosted I had the opportunity with some other collectors to put together a museum for the weekend. For me this effort became really the pinnacle of collecting OA for 25 years. I spent over $1000 building special frames to hold my collection and when it was all said and done we easily had a quarter of a million dollars worth of cloth in that museum. I knew this was the one and only time I would have the majority of my collection out for display. When I reached that peak moment of having everything organized, frames built, mounted at an event with 1,000+ arrowmen it really was the finish line for me in many respects.


Did I have every single patch from all 11 lodges represented at the event? No, but I did have many of the best – enough so that many of my fellow thread heads in attendance were impressed and let know. Like a lot of people I need a Muscogee 221 5-inch round and skinny Vigil flap. Like a lot of people I need an Atta Kulla Kulla 185 triangle. But I loose no sleep at night knowing that those pieces have eluded me because minus those I’ve got a pretty darn complete collection. Complete enough that I think I’ve basically finished worrying about adding to those core collections. Are they for sale – am I getting rid of them? NO!!


During all those years of focusing on OA I ignored what you might call the classic Scouting collectibles- rank, merit badges, etc. Whenever I bought a collection that had some of these things in it I tossed them in a box. Eventually after over a decade of doing this the box had become boxes. But since I never really paid attention to the value of this stuff I felt like it was better to sit on it like a hen rather than try and take any of it to a trade-o-ree or throw it up on eBay.


So in 2014 when I launched my Boy Scout memorabilia store at it was time to get into those boxes and see what I had. As I started sorting out all the thousands of patches a light bulb went off. I’ve got a pretty good starter collection already bought and paid for sitting right here on the table. Sure there were a lot of duplicates – but if I kept just one of each I’d be well on my way to having a collection. As most people in this hobby know 80% of the stuff is pretty easy to find and then there is the 20% that you have to chase down. So satisfied that I had a lot of the 80% stuff and a little of the 20% stuff I decided to start dipping my toes into these new areas of collecting.


What’s been fun about getting into these classic Scouting pieces is that it has given me a chance to consider ways that I can use my collection to help spread some Scout spirit. Whether it be at a council EXPO or in teaching Scouting Heritage merit badge there will be opportunities to pull out a collection of Eagle Scout patches and talk about the history. So as I build these collections I’m keeping in mind that they need to be instantly displayable and not just stuffed into plastic bags or even three ring binders.


I look forward to sharing my journey into these new collecting areas on and I hope that as I learn for example what is a wide-crimped tan merit badge I can share that knowledge with anybody interested in the topic. Use the contact form at the top of the page if you want to reach me and talk about this great hobby.


Good for you. It’s almost impossible to focus on everything in Scouting. You have done it the correct way. Focus on what you want to collect now. But, don’t throw anything away. Your focus will change as time goes along. The fun is in the collecting, big or small, new or old.

Thanks for sharing your blog…………JH

By Jim Hensley on February 2nd, 2015 at 3:02 pm

Would love to talk to you sometime . I haven’t traded a flap in 44 years

By John Weltzien on July 4th, 2015 at 9:33 pm


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