The problem comes about from encouraging young folks to take up activities new to them and about which they know nothing at all. In my case it was my mother, who said she had been talking to Allen’s mother, who lived just down the street from us, who said her Allen had started a coin collection and seemed to be enjoying it immensely. So why didn’t I try collecting something, too?

So, I gave it a try, collecting pennies, but how far can you get on an allowance of ten cents a week. You can’t just find them. You have to buy them. And they aren’t even the same color as the rest of our coins. And they’re dirty, for the most part, because, well, nobody really takes pennies seriously. So, I took the problem to my father, who understood right away and immediately raised my weekly allowance to twenty-five cents, and that was helpful, but really didn’t engage the problem.

So, I gave up on pennies and switched over to collecting postage stamps and worked that angle for a while. However, it soon became clear that with more than a hundred and fifty countries worldwide, all printing postage stamps at a rate far faster than I was ever going to be able to react, and the chance of acquiring a complete set of anything, let alone a copy of the famous ten-drahma inverted red unicorn stamp from Malawi, of which only six were ever printed, was far beyond my modest means and boldest dreams.

This problem is one that eventually catches up with any collector, whether of stamps or coins, racing cars, oil paintings or blue diamonds, and whether you are the Sheikh of Ali Baba or Cornelius J. Knockafeller doesn’t really matter.

What I offer here is called the MiniMax system. It does not require securing at least one copy of every collectible item in your field of interest, nor the rarest or most sought-after copy of whatever it is you are collecting, but the one, single, most beautiful example you have ever seen, and then mounting, saving, caring for or displaying it.

That is, collecting just that one, single item, the finest you have ever seen. In this way, with the minimum of expense, time and effort, you have the one, the single, the most outstanding and desirable of all items you have ever seen in your field of interest, and that’s the maximum result. So, minimum cost and effort with maximum result means MiniMax.

Of course, you keep on searching for another item, perhaps more impressive, beautiful, or desirable than the one you already have, and, when you find it, you dismount the current item, stick it on an envelope and mail it to a friend, while mounting the newest and better find where it can be cared for and admired in its place. MiniMax!

Orrin Frink is a Kennebunkport resident. He can be reached at [email protected]

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