Not your grandmother’s collections

By Rachel Gorr

Most people collect something, be it shot glasses or Pez dispensers, but Nathan Zastoupil and Bryan Winemiller just happen to take their collections to the next level.

“I have about 70 hats [here] right now,” Zastoupil said. “Mostly sports. I have a lot of NIU and NASCAR hats.”

Zastoupil, who has been interested in baseball caps for years, has displayed on his walls a collection of at least 70 baseball caps and counting. The collection borders the ceiling all around Zastoupil’s side of the room, trimming the corners and covering the small wall behind the head of his bed.

“He wears all of them,” Winemiller said.

Zastoupil, who likes to match his hat to his outfit, has been in love with baseball hats since childhood. He got the idea for hanging up his hats around the walls from home, where he keeps the rest of his hat collection displayed in the basement of his family’s house.

“I have a [display] like this at home,” Zastoupil said. “I hung my hats at home all around my basement ceiling. Since I am living in this room I wanted to make it like home.”

The small assortment of hats that Zastoupil keeps here are only a small portion of his total collection. While at school he keeps with him only the newest members of his hat family, none of them more than two years old. The current collection pales in comparison to the one at home.

“At home I have a collection of maybe 400 to 500 hats,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly. I’ve been collecting them for a long time.”

He has no plans of slowing down his collecting either; he continues to buy more hats whenever he sees one he likes. Zastoupil just can’t say no to a good hat.

“I just ordered a couple online so I expect them in soon,” he said. “I have to find some place to put them. Usually I look for a place to put my hats, even if I don’t have any room.”

Some of Zastoupil’s hats are worth some money, though he doesn’t bring those to school with him.

“I have a Shaquille O’Neal Rookie of the Year hat at home that’s probably worth some money,” he said. “It’s really unique.”

Winemiller also has a very unique collection mounted on his walls. While Zastoupil is happy with his hats, Winemiller is all about vintage license plates.

“I kind of like vintage things I guess,” Winemiller said.

While he could have taken the vintage motif in any direction, Winemiller chose license plates for their visual and artistic appeal.

“[License plates are] kind of an identity thing. It’s like ‘this is someone’s car.’ The numbers, the state, the colors; it’s the whole relationship with identity,” Winemiller said.

Luckily for him, Winemiller didn’t have to spend much to make his bold graphic statement since most of the license plates in his collection are gifts from friends and family members.

“[Zastoupil] got some for me for my birthday last year,” Winemiller said. “I haven’t spent hardly anything on them.”

It was his roommate’s collection, however, that inspired Winemiller to edge his side of the room in his license plates.

“I just decided to hang them because [Zastoupil] had his collection hung up,” Winemiller said.

The two art roomies have gotten a lot of good response to their special brand of decorating. However, some people think it’s a bit unusual.

“A lot of people think that I am crazy for having so many hats,” Zastoupil said. “Hats are just my style though.”