For those of you who have been readers from the beginning, pop your head in occasionally, or are just stopping by for the first time today, it should be apparent at this point that I am an avid fitted cap collector; some may even call my little hobby an addiction. Fortunately, I'm not the only one. Today on TFD, we start a new periodic feature called "Collectors Corner." In "Collectors Corner" posts we will take a closer look at some of our readers impressive collections, which are sure to drop your jaws to the floor.
Today, we feature Angel Villegas Del Rosario of Las Vegas, Nevada. Angel reached out to me on Facebook, after reading the blog. Immediately, it had become apparent that he was the owner of one of the most epic fitted collection I have ever seen. After viewing panned out shots of his display, fittingly dubbed "The Great Wall", it had become apparent that the fitted cap community had to become familiarized with him. Angel mentioned to me that the demand for shelving was so great for "The Great Wall", that the local Home Depot actually ran out of wood during the process of his first pick up; truly remarkable.
The following is a Q&A formatted interview with Angel, himself. Enjoy.
TFD: When did you first start your collection of fitted caps?
AVDS: 1989 in NYC. I bought one cap a day for a whole year.
TFD: Are all of your caps New Era Brand Caps?
AVDS: No, I’ll say 80% are made by New Era
TFD: Do you remember your first fitted?
AVDR: Yes, I bought two fitteds that day. One was a Texas A&M cap. (For some reason I like the T with the A and M on each side; it’s by De Long.) The other was a Greensboro Hornets (who were a New York Yankees affiliated at the time) fitted by New Era. I still have them both.
1. TFD: What size fitted do you wear?
AVDR: Normally I wear 7 3/8, but like jeans, no 2 caps ever fit identically. I have a 7 ¼ that fits me like a glove and sometimes I have to buy the 7 ½.
TFD: Approximately how many caps would you say you buy a year?
AVDR: I stopped buying for a while and I left most of my old and original collection in New Jersey in 2003. I brought 247 of those with me when I moved to Las Vegas. My collection grew quickly when I got back into it in 2005. I’ve probably bought 140 a year the last seven years.
TFD:What is your favorite sport to watch as a spectator?
AVDR: Football or Baseball; Though I’m a sports nut, I’ll watch cricket if it’s on TV. Hahahaha.
TFD: What is your favorite cap in your collection?
AVDR: Tough One! They’re like my babies, so I would say each has its own story to tell. If I have to choose one? My Yankees Spike Lee Joint 27 World Series Fitted.
TFD: How many caps do you currently own?
AVDR: On hand, not counting my caps in my storage unit, close to 1,100.
1. TFD: Which was the most difficult cap to find in your collection?
AVDR: Right now, it’s The Latin Baseball Leagues (Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba) and Israeli Baseball. Before it was the KBO, but since New Era started making their hats I’ve been able to find them. I also have the earlier ones made by their prior manufacturers, like my Nippon Baseball League collection.
TFD: How much would you say you’ve spent of caps?
AVDR: A lot, since I have been buying hats for a long time! Hahaha. Easily over $30,000. I have a little more self discipline now, so to speak. I also look for hidden gems on the net, ask people around for good deal, etc. It has gotten expensive now, too. I remember when a fitted was like $20, but now on average they're $35-$40.
TFD: What was the most you have spent on a single cap?
AVDR: $80-$100 on one cap.
TFD: Would you consider your collection of caps the biggest you have seen around?
AVDR: Maybe. I heard there’s a guy who has 36,000 hats. I just don’t know if it’s the caps like we like to buy (fitteds). I would say my baseball caps collection (only teams from professional leagues) must be up there.
TFD: What would you say makes a fitted collection a great one?
AVDR: I guess it’s not quantity as much as quality. Also, Identity and/or concept are great focal points. Like any collection, it has to have some kind of organization. For instance, my big wall. It’s all baseball. Then I have all NFL on a second wall, all NBA on a third wall, and all NHL on a fourth. I guess it’s like an archive of hats. You can just collect from one team, collect one cap from each era of play, which will end up being a great collection of whatever team that represents. Or, for example, you can collect based on just one color, and have a great collection of let’s say red caps or blue caps. I’m fascinated by history, that’s why I went with baseball. Every time I look at one cap, I like to think how it was in that specific era represented. I don’t see my collection as something to show off, it’s something I love, and it’s my passion. It gives me peace.
TFD: Is there any cap you still haven’t added to your collection, in which you have had trouble finding?
AVDR: There are a few. I’m still 3 away from completing my Dominican Winter League, and 3 from the Venezuelan.
TFD: Will you ever feel as though your collection is “complete”?
AVDR: This is a Great Question! Collecting caps is an addiction. Honestly, every time I see a young person starting to collect caps I’m happy, but at the same time sad; the reason being that I see myself in the ones they wear that I don’t have. Some nights, I will wake up because I’ve thought of a cap I don't have. I’ll then go online and start searching. There are times when you don’t have the money, and really should resist. Unfortunately, I’m so impatient, I strive terribly to get them all, resulting in me caving in. Once I complete the “cap history” of a club, I almost immediately begin collecting another set for another club. That all being said, I suppose the answer is a resounding NO! The collection will never be complete. Hahaha.
I hope you enjoyed my interview with Angel Villegas Del Rosario as much as I did. He certainly has bragging rights in the cap game due to his unique collection. Until next time, keep collecting caps and wear them proudly!
If you'd like to see more of Angel's collection, or reach out to him check out his Facebook page HERE