RULE l: Collect only one style of Hammond, nothing but C's or spinets, for example. When all your Hammonds are the same shape and finish, it's harder if not impossible for anyone to figure out how many Hammonds you actually have.
RULE 2: Never line up your Hammonds, ever! Nothing distresses a difficult spouse more than seeing five old Hammonds lined up, looking for all the world like a pile of burning hundred dollar bills. Scatter the organs around: one in the garage, one in the guest room, another in the living room, one down in the basement, maybe a couple at a friend's house, so that it is not possible for anyone (if you know who I mean) to see more than one from any one perspective. Your hobby will be less "irritating" that way.
RULE 3: For pretty much the same reason, don't number your Hammonds, give them names. You'd be surprised how much less trouble you will have if you talk about "Jimmy" rather than 70873 (Obviously you'll want to avoid names like "Barbara"). RULE 4: Early in your collecting, buy a Hammond you don't want. Then sell it as quickly as you can. Don't worry about making any money on the transaction, the main thing is to buy the organ and get rid of it. Then you can say, "Yes my sweet, I do have six Hammonds in the garage while our car is out in the weather. That doesn't mean I will always have six Hammonds. Remember the one I got rid of? I'm thinking of selling another one any day now, so we can put our car in the garage." If you have a friend who collects Hammonds make arrangements for him to drop off an organ now and again. That way you can say, if anyone asks, that you bought it. Then have him haul it off again and say you sold it. With this system you establish your reputation for moderation.
RULE 5: Pay for your Hammonds with cashier's checks, money orders, or cash which leaves far less evidence than checks drawn on the family account. Once you have gotten possession of another Hammond and paid for it, eat the stubs, carbons or receipts immediately. These have a way of becoming an embarrassment later.
RULE 6: Now and then buy a wreck for 'parts' even if you don't need the parts. In fact you might consider hauling a wreck or two in the same van or truck, whenever you haul home a good Hammond. This is called 'liability averaging'. If your significant other says something about having enough money for yet another Hammond, but not enough for a new refrigerator, point indignantly to the organs in the truck--the beautiful B-3 with the 122, solid and in playing condition for which you paid $1,500 and the dirty hulks you got for $200 each. Then huff, "Snookums, I got those for little more than $600 each and the one in the back is easily worth $5,000. That's a tidy profit of $3,200." See? Doesn't that make you sound like an investment wizard?
RULE 7: When things get critical: consider dragging home a Hammond without the generator or pedalboard. If there's a complaint you say, "Hammond? What Hammond? That's not a Hammond! That's only case and manuals, not even close to a Hammond." Then a couple of weeks later bring home a tone cabinet, generator, and bench. "Hammond? What Hammond? That's no Hammond, that's only a speaker, not even close to a Hammond!" However, don't try this more than once every couple of years.
RULE 8: Have a dealer or friend call when you're not at home and tell your spouse, "Bob told me to keep an eye on the B-3 going at the auction on Saturday but it sold for $5,000, and I know there's no way a financially cautious and responsible guy like Bob would pay that much, so I didn't even bid on it for him." Not only will this make you look really good, but the next time you buy a Hammond you can say something like, "Luvi-bear, this beauty only cost me $3,000, which means we are $2,000 ahead of where we'd have been, if I'd have gotten the one before. If I keep saving money like this, we'll be able to afford to go on that Caribbean cruise next winter." If you say it fast enough, it might just work.
RULE 9: If your mate insults your collection, laugh a lighthearted laugh, making it clear that Hammonds are NOT to you what shoes were to Imelda Marcos.
RULE l0: If your situation worsens to the point where your mate asks, "Who do you love more, me or your Hammonds?" Whatever you do, don't pause to think it over.
Eric N. Tucker