Jonathan is a serious collector of Harvey Comics memorabilia, with an emphasis on Richie Rich items, and he offered to take us on a tour of his collection…
How did your collection start? What was the first item in your collection?
The items I would consider the first in my merchandise collection were given to me by my paternal grandmother. She actively helped me in my early years of collecting, and bought me a small Richie Rich Note Book and two books of Richie Rich Letter Paper. My current collection of Harvey Comics character merchandise started when I started running out of comic books to buy. I began by searching eBay, and kept refining my searches until they yielded relevant items. Now I attend toy shows to try to uncover more items, and to speak with the toy dealers.
Approximately how many items are in your collection?
About 150. I know that is not a lot for an avid collector, but most of these items were purchased within the last few years, and I have to be selective in what I buy. Richie Rich’s wealth has not rubbed off on me!
Do you have a favorite item in your collection?
Of course! I would have to say my prize possession is my comic book spinner rack. I have the four-sided rack with Richie Rich, Spider-Man, Archie and Superman at the top. The reason it means so much to me is it is the same style rack I used to buy new issues off of at the local 7-Eleven when I was younger.
How do you store/display your collection?
We have one display cabinet that we rotate our collections through, so sometimes part of my collection will be displayed there. Most of the time it is packed away in the closet in large plastic totes. Part of the reason I started my website was to give me an excuse to dig out my collection and look at it.
Is there a “holy grail” item that you would love to add to your collection?
Bally made a Richie Rich slot machine. They come up for sale from time to time, but usually for local pickup only, and I don’t think I could get it in my car. One day I will rent a truck and go pick one up!
Do you collect other things?
I have been a collector my whole life. When I was very young, it was postcards, bottle caps and vending machine toys. Then I dabbled in stamps, coins and baseball cards. When Star Wars came out, I started collecting non-sports cards, not just Star Wars, but Wacky Packages and others as well. I bought Star Wars action figures, but I played with them, I never considered them a collection even though I maintained a checklist of what I had. I started collecting the Richie Rich comic books in 1978. Once I had most of the main title issues and had exhausted my local comic book stores, I started to lose interest in collecting. I got into building plastic military models and model railroading. Then I went to college, where I met my future wife. I got into her hobby of collecting gems and minerals. Once I graduated and got a job, I discovered eBay and resumed collecting comics and then comic merchandise. Other than comic books and comic merchandise, the gems and minerals are the only thing I still actively collect.
Do you have any advice for new collectors who are just starting a collection?
Try to figure out what you are most passionate about as soon as possible and really focus on it. You cannot buy everything, buy what will matter to you most. This is very hard to do, but it will pay dividends in the long run. This is especially important if what you collect is open-ended. For example, collecting a run of a comic book is easy. If you know 235 issues were published, once you have copies of all 235, you are done. But if you collect cow knick-knacks, there is no limit. You need to set yourself some artificial limits or the collection could rapidly get out of control.
Do you have any interesting stories or memories about collecting?
Some of my fondest memories involve my collection. I remember my first Richie Rich comic book. I was at summer day camp, and we were playing tennis. Even playing doubles on several courts, we could not all play at once. While I was on the bench, I found a beat-up comic book and started reading it. I asked everyone I was with if it was theirs, and no one claimed it, so I took it with me. That book was Inventions #1, and it started me collecting Richie Rich. After that, from the year Richie Rich the Poor Little Rich Boy #1 was my big Christmas present, to the day we walked out of a comic book store with two big shopping bags full of books, collecting has given me many days of pleasure.
Where can you be found on the internet?
The Harvey Mercheum is a website I started last year to help Harvey collectors such as myself to know what merchandise was produced. I am always looking for submissions to the website, visitors can use the “Contact the Curator” form to get in touch with me!
If you are a collector and would like to share your passion with other like-minded collectors, just fill out the collector profile form.