Collectors Night

Collectors’ Night 2018

Collectors’ Night 2018
New York City Fire Museum, 278 Spring St., New York, NY 10013
Online admission: $10 general/$7 Reliquary and Fire Museum members
Door admission: $13 general/$10 Reliquary and Fire Museum members
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The City Reliquary will be hosting its 13th annual Collectors’ Night on Saturday, April 14th, 2018,6pm-8pm, at the New York City Fire Museum. Join us in celebrating curious collections, displays, and ephemera!

Each year, collectors and archivists — whose acquisitions run the gamut, from loose groupings to the hyper-specific–showcase their treasures to the public and participate in rapid-fire show-n-tells. This is an opportunity to get up close with collective labors of love.

Special guest speakers will focus on municipal collections of New York City and feature:

Brian Kelley’s NYCTA project, which began as a simple collection of MetroCards taken from the ground and has since expanded to encompass Transit Authority materials, patches, pamphlets, pins, tickets, tokens, limited-edition MetroCards, and more.

Nelson Molina, a retired DSNY worker, will present on his Treasures in the Trash collection.

And a special presentation from our host, the New York Fire Museum, detailing the history and cultural heritage of the fire service of New York.


This year’s collections include:

  • Coca-Cola ephemera (David Argov)
  • Collection of photos, posters, press kits, etc. related to the 1968 Apollo 8 mission (Ben Sisto)
  • Museum of Interesting Things(Denny Daniel)
  • Elongated coins (Suzie Sims-Fletcher)
  • ID cards and corroding bottle caps (Harley Spiller)
  • Archival 16mm cartoons (Tommy Stathes)
  • Antique china, glass, bottles, and seaglass (Emily Kawasaki)
  • Chicago gang business cards from the 1960s-1990s(Brandon Johnson)
  • Collection of frog-related items (Dianna Maeurer)
  • Photo postcards from World War I (Chris Engel)
  • Shea Stadium ephemera (Jason Antos)
  • Labels and sign letters/numbers (Gail Mitchell)
  • The Wallet of Ronda J Smith – a collection of personal cards / credit cards / driver’s licenses (Ronda Smith)
  • Items created by a number of companies and entities that share that collector’s namesake (Glen Eden Einbinder)
  • Henry & Jay’s Collection Agency (Jason and Henry McLean)
  • “The Operative Owl”: a collection of primarily antique owls that function (Lesley Doyel)
  • Eiffel Tower collection (LuLu LoLo)

Beer generously provided by Brooklyn Brewery.

Bedford + Bowery Collector’s Night video coverage!

A reporter for Bedford + Bowery stopped by Collector’s Night to talk with a few of our collectors. Check out this short video to hear City Reliquary founder Dave Herman talk about the concept behind this annual event and to see some highlights from the evening!

Collectors Night Sign-Up!


Hosted at the New York City Fire Museum
Saturday, April 8 @ 5 PM

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collectors’ Night on Saturday, April 8 at the New York City Fire MuseumCollectors’ Night celebrates of one of the quirkier cultural practices of everyday New Yorkers. Every year, self-proclaimed archivists and packrats of every stripe gather to show off their collections. Displays range from the charming and quotidian to the intriguingly morbid.

With special presentations by guest speakers. This year’s special guests are Miriam Sicherman of the Closet Archaeology project, Mike Zohn of Obscura Antiquities and Oddities, and artist and activist LuLu LoLo of the Where Are The Women Monuments project.

To showcase your offbeat assemblage in a table display, submit the form below. A 6′ long table will be provided–see Event Details. You’ll also be invited to participate in the evening’s Rapid-Fire Show & Tell! We’ll accept submissions through Friday, March 24. For a mention in our press release, please respond by Monday, March 13.

Event schedule TBA

Event Details

Table Deposit:
A $10 fee will reserve your table and help support The City Reliquary. You can submit the $10 table deposit in the Other field on our Artfully donation page. Be sure to note “Collectors Night 2017 table” in the Special Instructions area of the Checkout page.

Collector’s Rights and Responsibilities:
Collections will remain in the care and protection of their owners. The owner understands that photo documentation may be taken of his/her display and used for press and other promotional purposes. Protective measures will be taken to assure that all collections are respectfully guarded from harm, but neither The City Reliquary nor New York Fire Museum is responsible for any damage or loss.

Presenters will transport and set up their collections between 3:00 and 4:30 PM on Saturday, April 8. Collectors must remove displays from the premises by 9 PM.

Display Guidelines:
We invite you to display your collection as creatively as you wish.  In the past, collectors have taken a “school science fair” approach and used a trifold display board. Flat objects, background information, or titles and informative labels work well against a cardboard backdrop. Helpful display accessories include: small boxes to raise objects; fabric to drape over table tops; glass or Plexiglas/acrylic vitrines; pins; clips; labels; extra lights; and extension cords. The New York City Fire Museum does not allow collectors to attach anything to the walls of the ballroom.

Collector’s Night 2015


Collector’s Night 2015
Presented by The City Reliquary Museum
Hosted at Brooklyn Historical Society
Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 – 9:30 PM

The City Reliquary Museum is proud to present its annual Collector’s Night, a celebration of unique ephemera and those who curate it. Every year, collectors with a passion for amassing the unusual gather to present their objects and the fascinating stories behind them. This year we’ll meet at Brooklyn Historical Society on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 PM. Admission: $10, $5 for BHS and Green-Wood members. Beer generously provided by Brooklyn Brewery. Sandwiches from Hope Deli!

NelsonThe first part of the event presents the Treasures in the Trash collection of Nelson Molina, retired DSNY worker. We’ll begin with Kelly Adams’s One Man’s Trash (run time: 17 min.), first screened in the 2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival. Next, a discussion by Dr. Robin Nagle, DSNY Anthropologist-in-Residence and Director of the John W. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought, NYU. (Watch her in this TED talk!) We’ll end with a Q&A with Nelson Molina himself.


The second part of our event features…you! All collectors will give a brief show-&-tell of their displays. Confirmed displays include taxidermy and jarred animal specimens from Morbid Anatomy Museum guest lecturers; archival 16-mm cartoons; classic Broadway memorabilia & artifacts; unusual record formats; mutilated/altered US currency; and more! Cameo appearances by Paul Lukas and Harley Spiller, aka Inspector Collector.

Want to show off your own collection? Submit a form! We’ll accept submissions for table displays through November.

Questions? Contact us at or by phone at (718) R-U-CIVIC

Photo credit:
Ashtrays from “Treasures in the Trash”: James Mulry
Still from “One Man’s Trash” (dir. Kelly Adams): Kelly Adams
Mark Splatter’s Anole lizards in a jar: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

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Christina Ray is a co-founder of the brilliant on-line project called “Glowlab.” She also collects “Dead Umbrellas” from the streets in our neighborhood. In a city where umbrellas magically appear on every busy corner during a rainstorm, you can imagine a few of these become disposable. One big gust of wind can create all new types of umbrella forms, most of which get tossed onto the curb. My favorite in her collection had been run over many times by traffic until even the metal handle became paper thin. Christina also presented a collection of “Pen Test Papers” which she gathered from stationers and art stores.

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Harley “Inspector Collector” Spiller with his line up of fortune teller hand bills. Harley also created an impromptu workshop where guests could design their own hand bills on-site. An excellent way to bulk up his collection with such a sizable crowd on hand!

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Here is New York’s famous WFMU disc jockey, Fabio. Instead of spinning vinyl, on this night Fabio was playing a sample of his 8-track recordings, “the failed format.” Fabio is also a co-owner of Williamsburgh’s favorite record store, “Earwax,” on Bedford Avenue and North 5th Street.

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is Eddie Gonzales of the Classic Riders Bicycle Club. Eddie rolled with his 1964 Schwinn Jaguar and his vintage Schwinn Orange Krate chopper. Both bikes where cutom restored with original parts by Eddie. He also brought in an impressive collection of G.I. Joe action figures (remember the old big ones?) and Hot Wheel cars. In Puerto Rico, racing Hot Wheel cars on custom made tracks is a popular pastime.

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Mr. Bill Scanga presents his Museum for the Collection of Extraterrestrial Biological Entity Figurines (M.C.E.B.E.F.) and the Parenthetical Eyeball Project (P.E.P.) Notice the high-grade, professional quality display case featuring an undetermined mass of occular figurines. Of course, being the Reliquary’s V.P. of Collections, Bill had to represent a high class presentation!