The collector: Edoardo Flores, retired international civil servant, Turin, Italy.
The collection: 'Do Not Disturb' door hangers from hotels, cruise ships and airlines around the world.
The story behind the collection...
It started by chance when I found a couple of signs I had brought back as souvenirs from business trips. A friend saw them and suggested they would make a nice collection. That was it.
As I began accumulating more signs I started appreciating the varied designs, the different shapes and materials, the messages in different languages. Some signs are eye-catching, some are quite common, but to a collector they are all special.
They are not all paper signs, some are made from various materials such as plastic, wood, fabric, leather, brass, etc. Some are magnetic, others are hand crafted pieces decorated with seashells or seeds from exotic plants. Some hotels use three dimensional objects to request privacy instead of signs, for example a teddy bear.
I started actively collecting in 1995 and over the years I have accumulated more than 7000 different signs from around 180 countries and territories worldwide.
I suppose the main thing they reveal about me is my passion for travel, but to some it seems a rather eccentric hobby.
From the start I created a database where I record every single item. I also scan each sign and post the pictures on my website. The actual signs are stored in envelopes or boxes divided by country. I don't actually display them at home mainly because I don't have enough wall space but it's a pity to hide such attractive items.
Every sign is special for me, but of course there are some that are more special. This depends on either the hotel or the country of origin.
Vintage 'Do Not Disturb' signs
One of the most exclusive pieces I have comes from the hotel Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican City where cardinals lodge, among others, on the occasion of the election of a new Pope.
Others come from famous hotels such as the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the oldents hotel east of Suez; the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand; the Pera Palais in Istanbul, Turkey and the Mena House in Cairo, Egypt where many famous people have stayed; the Burj al Arab in Dubai, UAE, the only seven star hotel; many famous casino hotels in Las Vegas; exclusive resorts all over the world and even small Pacific Island states such as Kiribati, Vanuatu, etc. The list is almost endless.
The signs are not just from hotels. I have many from cruise ships and also the adhesive label type used by airlines, mostly in business class.
http://www.freewebs.com/dndcollector/collection.htm contains information about Edoardo's collection including picture galleries of all the signs.
www.hoteldndsigns.com is a joint venture with another collector, Rainer from Germany who is a former travel writer.
In Flagrante Collecto: (Caught in the Art of Collecting) by Marilynn Gelfman Kark
All images © www.hoteldndsigns.com and used with kind permission.