If there was any doubt that people will collect almost anything, a visit to the Nelson Antique and Collectables Show at the Suburban Club in Tahunanui on Saturday should have removed it.
Impressive collections of paper knives, hat pins, eye baths and even electricity insulators were displayed beside the more familiar groupings of china, jewellery, pottery, bottles and just about anything old and small enough to be easily transported and grouped.
Rob Packer worked at the Nelson freezing works for many years and started collecting anything to do with the works.
After finding a historic photograph of animals being butchered on a farm, he changed the collection's emphasis.
His display was grouped around the framed picture and included many ornately crafted steels used for sharpening knives, all from the 1930s or close to that period.
Mr Packer hasn't come across anyone else with a similar collection and said when it wasn't on public display, "I've got a bit of a museum at home".
He began his career as a freezing worker when he was 15 and said he had helped farmers with "home kill" in earlier years.
Like other club members, he has a variety of collections built up over 30 years and exhibits them at shows around New Zealand.
Guest judge Christopher Vine said the show was "an extraordinarily eclectic collection" and he was struggling to whittle the displays down to an overall winner.
Nelson Antique Bottle and Collectables Club vice-president Barry Pont - who also has a range of collections and had his Anzac biscuit tins on display - said it was "a friendly show just to show people what we do collect".
He said the wide range of interests included someone who specialised in vintage car spark plugs but ceramic pot lids were the highest value items at the show, with various old bottles being very collectable too.
"In the last 10 years money is dictating who's got the rarest bottles - my son recently sold a Nelson ginger beer [bottle] for $10,000."
Mr Pont said he'd told his son he'd had "rocks in his head" when he paid $800 for it some years ago.
"He had the last laugh on me."
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