Focus on a few when displaying collections

By: Linda Shepard | C&G Newspapers | Published January 30, 2013

 Collections of Depression glass or similar objects should be edited for display to ensure maximum effect.

Collections of Depression glass or similar objects should be edited for display to ensure maximum effect.

Photo by Linda Shepard

A valued collection of figurines, glassware, dolls, travel mementos, coins or sports cards can deliver an unusual décor element to a room, if it is displayed with care.

The difficulty is in deciding how much to display.

“A lot of times, less is more,” said Rebecca Lujan-Stoitsiadis, co-owner of Hepplewhite’s Interiors in Rochester. “A trend is larger pieces well-placed instead of a large collection. Sometimes it is painful.”

Carolyn Stieger, owner of We Stage Greater Detroit, agrees. She recommends displaying several items from a collection and changing them out seasonally. “You have to decide, do you want to overwhelm your house?” she asked. “If you have too many things, you can’t focus on any one thing. It causes stress, and you can’t enjoy it.”

Stieger said her company, which stages homes for sale, arranges furnishings so the eye is guided through the house with everything clean and balanced. “Put clutter away so people can relax,” she said. “No one will admit they have clutter, but we all have too much stuff; it is the American way. Minimize it so you can enjoy it.”

Lujan-Stoitsiadis recommends a feature wall of shadow boxes that display small items, and a family picture collection unified by matching frames. “We’ll make a family wall. It has to make sense,” she said.

A curio cabinet can neatly store a large collection of breakable and valuable items.

“Ten is nice, but when you get to 30 or 40, sometimes you can’t handle it,” Lujan-Stoitsiadis said. “I feature a few on a table or desk and the rest go into a curio.”

A coin collection can be framed and will add charm to a game room, said Domenic Grossi of Domenic’s Coins and Collectibles in Rochester Hills.

“A sports-card collection should be framed carefully to preserve valuable cards,” Grossi said. The cards should be stored in hard, plastic sleeves to avoid damage before framing.

“Any kind of frame shop has something pre-made just for cards,” he said. “Some hold 20 cards or even more. They will custom make something for you to display any way you want.”

A woodworker and coin collector recently created a frame in the shape of the United States to display his penny collection, Grossi said, and another coin-collecting customer fashioned a frame in the shape of the Michigan mitten.

“A lot of coin collectors make their own displays,” he said.

Grossi said he has been working with a local grandfather and grandson who are collecting a coin from every country and plan to display their world coin collection in a custom frame. “The world coins are awesome looking,”Grossi said. He recommended coin collecting as a fun and educational activity for children. 

“When kids collect world coins, they learn about world history,” Grossi said. “They are hungry for more information. There is a lot more to it than people think. You learn the geography of the world. You get the stories behind the coins, like the Lincoln penny, the steel penny from WWII and the WWI peace dollar. It is a great hobby.”