Sugar packets, I thought this was an interesting collectible item. I had never heard of collecting sugar packets before I started doing some research. I also didn't realize that there were so many different types of sugar packets. There are sugar packets dedicated to U.S. presidents, places in the U.S., antique autos, airlines, hotels and burger joints. I was amazed.
The first sugar refinery in New York City was opened on Liberty Street in 1730 by Nicholas Bayard. Most raw sugar was imported to the colonies from overseas and the city was soon a center of sugar refining largely because of the port and the high local demand for sugar. The industry attracted such prominent families as the Livingston's, the Bayard's, the Cuyler's, the Roosevelt's, the Stewart's, and the Van Cortlandt's.
The only thing you really need to start a sugar packet collection is sugar packets. Pretty basic. You will need a place to store your packets. Some collectors store them in show boxes. Other collectors use a binder with clear plastic pocket pages. This seems like the most common sense thing to use and you can see all your sugar packets and you can organize them the way you want. You can organize by restaurant or hotel or you can arrange them by when you got them such as put the first ones you collect at the beginning and so on. Another thing is that some collectors remove the sugar from the packet first whereas others feel that the sugar is part of the packet and therefore part of the collection. It is completely up to you what you decide to do.
The best way to get sugar packets that you don't already have or won't be able to get otherwise is to trade them. If you have friends or family that already collect them, then you can start trading there. If not, there are tons of places online to do trading. Join a sugar packet collectors club such as The UK Sucrologists Club. They issue a newsletter four times a year, which includes information about sugar companies and packagers, new issues of packets, competitions, forthcoming visits to sugar packet producing companies, future exchange meetings and members' experiences and hobbies.
Most sugar packets are indeed free. You can collect them at hotels, restaurants, trains, airplanes, etc. Basically anywhere a hot beverage is sold, you will find sugar packets. But there are some rare ones that are sold online, especially online auction sites such as EBay. There have been rare and unique ones that were sold for around $25 a piece. You don't have to pay money for them though. The best way is through trading since this is totally free. And you can trade with people from other countries who have some unique ones you probably wouldn't get anywhere else.