The plan of this website is schizophrenic. One theme, using the vehicle of a thirteen chapter book (along with a rather verbose Introduction), is to recount experiences with collecting over the last forty or so years. A second is to provide some guidance on how to approach the search for treasures – the pitfalls of auctions, the opportunities for finding gems by scouring antique shops or flea markets and the agonies and joys of traveling the estate sale route. Finally, in the last five chapters, we survey how a novice collector should approach collecting within a variety of categories of Americana including samplers, quilts, coverlets, kitchen collectibles, furniture, portrait paintings, and so on ... This introductory chapter, though, looks at what we find special about Americana and might properly be titled "The development of the US economy in the 18th and 19th centuries as reflected in the things we collect today."