Some people collect for profit, others for love and yet others Thomas Cary has conjured up some synergy of sorts of all these motivations and has built what is likely the largest collection of prep, wasp, anglophile and old school regalia, books and art. He calls it The Cary Collection. The collection occupies nearly every square inch of available space in Tom’s Upper East Side apartment. But that is only the beginning. He has a few offsite storage spaces which house the majority of his book collection which consists of thousands of books.
At first sight the obvious inclination is to conclude that Tom should have his own spotlight on Hoarders, but for preps with impeccable taste. But, Tom says this is not the case, as all of it is for sale and not purely for his enjoyment. The accountant in me would also like to add that it is a financially sound move to stuff his apartment full of his collection given the exorbitant cost of retail space in New York City. Oh, and the taste is rather impeccable.
From a young age Tom was an avid collector. He told me how he would some times sneak off to New York to make acquisitions. So I said, ‘Tom, how the hell did you pull that off?’ He responded by saying something to the effect that he was a Holden Caulfield of sorts, makes sense. At an older age, while working at Paul Stuart (he worked at Brooks Brothers before that), he would take his lunch breaks to comb the NYC markets and stores for pieces that would be the beginnings of The Cary Collection. Finally, about ten years ago he started working on the collection full time.
To be honest, I was taken aback by the depth of the collection. Great things kept popping up everywhere. So many things I wanted, but sadly, they will have to wait until I stop spending all of my money on suits and shoes… Random bits of vintage Abercrombie & Fitch (back when people of good taste could shop there), Gucci and Hermes snuck in at points. Of personal interest was Tom’s collection of Lilly Pulitzer jackets; which aside from my collection is the largest I have ever seen. Luckily, I think I have him beat by a few pieces. I also am a big fan of 21 Club (and yes, of course I was saddened when they de-formalized the dress code), from which Tom has multiple pieces of memorabilia, like the place card holders (see 5th photo below). For the fashionistas out there, the original Givenchy couture sketches with the atelier’s seal would be of interest (last photo). They are beautiful, they are sketches of the dresses to be made with swatches of the fabric to be used for the dress. But of more timely relevance, given the release of Skyfall, is the extensive collection of James Bond books. Most notably the custom bound set which is encased in a beautiful case emblazoned with a Walther PPK on top (see 4th photo below). Oh, and I should mention that Sir Sean Connery has signed a few of the books.
Tom’s collection can be seen at his NYC apartment and storage space by appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org) and online (although most of the collection is not catalogued). As well as at Vanessa Noel on Nantucket and a few stores around NYC. Including the 7th floor at Bergdorf Goodman, William Wayne at 64th & Lexington and Holland & Holland (which holds a British Royal Warrant) at 10 East 40th Street (btw Madison and 5th). If you are in the market for James Bond books, any sort prep regalia or even an entire library (for all you billionaires out there) may I recommend the collection for you.
Note: FYGblog did not receive any form of compensation, material or other, from The Cary Collection or any entities associated with it.
An absolutely amazing collection Justion. I guess you never know what may be hidden away in an upper east side apartment! I see elements of my own collection of stuff but nothing to this depth and in the multiples that I see here. It does however make me feel vindicated in my ongoing collection of classic clothing, hardcover books, vinyl records, vintage Matchbox cars, antique furniture and other quirky bits and pieces. I guess it may all be worth something one day. Andy Warhol’s collection was worth quite a bit I guess. It certainly beats some of the absolute crap you see on those shows you see about hoarders. Regards, Geoff Henzell.
Mr Cary has made some extraordinary finds over the years and is now listing them on AbeBooks at eye popping prices. Good luck to him I say as he has obviously been dedicated to his vision for a long time and has been able to source this stuff from others who have not realized it’s true or potential value! Regards, Geoff Henzell