Starting a scrimshaw collection
As a scrimshander, I would say to collect what you love. Don't feel like you need to buy everything you see. Many new collectors grab whatever they can find, assuming that a great collection means having a lot of whatever it is they are collecting. In my opinion, the most impressive collections are focused. Buy what you really like and buy the best that you can afford. That way you will build a collection that gives you years of enjoyment and that you can be proud of. As far as purchasing scrimshaw goes, keep an eye on all of your options. From the handful of scrimshaw galleries to working with individual scrimshanders there are advantages and disadvantages. You will absolutely need to educate yourself about the different materials used for scrimshaw so that you can buy with confidence. This all assumes that you want to collect contemporary scrimshaw rather than antique. Antique scrimshaw has it's own set of issues. There are a lot of fakes on the market so it especially important to educate yourself in this case. I have been a scrimshander for over twenty years so if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them for you. Also...try and find a copy of Bob Engnath's books The Scrimshaw Connection and The Second Scrimshaw Connection. I have never actually seen a copy of the first one but the second has a lot of helpful information.