I also want to avoid turning my hobby into a business. I don’t sell the signs I obtain, and I have often made donations to people wishing to start a collection. I also try to avoid buying signs at unreasonable prices. I have sometimes used eBay, but most of the sellers are not collectors and are only out to make money, often for very common material.
I also found several persons who, for different reasons, collected some signs and offered to donate their collections to me, in one case amounting to nearly 1,000 pieces. I always try to exchange with other items of their choice, if I can get hold of them.
Any funny stories about taking a sign?
A friend had an embarrassing experience when she took a wooden sign from an Asian hotel and was stopped while in a taxi and asked to return it. Another friend stole one from the door opposite his room and later heard shouting when someone tried to enter.
Do you ever pass on a sign?
I never leave anything behind except in cases where I know that I already have many doubles. I have to remember my other collector friends with whom I exchange.
Which countries or hotel chains have the most unusual or interesting designs? Any favorites?
The most attractive pieces are without doubt the ones from Asian countries. These are often artistic handcrafted pieces reflecting local culture and traditions. Other very interesting ones are the vintage signs, mostly from the United States, that have very creative and amusing graphics and messages. Also from the U.S., there are many attractive signs from the various casino hotels and Disney hotels.
From a collector’s viewpoint, I usually look for signs from famous or exclusive hotels and resorts, those linked with historical events or famous people. For example, I have one sign from the hotel Domus Sanctae Marthae in Vatican City where the cardinals are lodged when taking part in the conclave to elect a new pope. I obtained it thanks to a good contact within the Vatican.
Which countries’ signs are on your wish list?
There are obviously some very hard-to-get countries, many smaller or less accessible countries in Africa, such as Somalia, Sierra Leone, the Comoros, etc. Some of the island states from the Pacific and from the Caribbean. I would also like to find old signs that can shed some light on the origins of these signs.
Do you see yourself collecting DND signs forever or will you move on to, say, hotel notepads?
I have no intention of retiring from this hobby in the near future. I tried starting other travel-related collections; I have several hundreds of airline spoons (the metal ones with logos) but have set them aside. I recently started collecting hotel key cards (the magnetic type) and have collected many in a relatively short time. I also keep many other collectibles, but mainly for the purpose of exchanging for DND signs.