Eye of the Tiger

Not many collectors can pinpoint exactly when they began their collections, or know when they obtained the first item in their collection of many, but Cathy Billey, of Montoursville, can.

Billey, who is employed by the Sun-Gazette in the accounting department, has been collecting tigers for 30 years, and remembers just when she got the first tiger item in her collection.

“I started my collection in the fall of 1983,” Billey said. “I saw a beautiful tiger tapestry at the Bloomsburg Fair and I bought it and got it framed.”

Billey is drawn to the beauty of tigers and loves every type, color, age and size of the animal.

“They are so beautiful, no matter their age – cubs or full grown. Their eyes draw your attention,” she said.

Some of the items in Billey’s collection include 14 plates, two light switch plates, two T-shirts and one sleep shirt, a mug, bobble-head figurine, two ceramic figurines, a mouse pad, cookie jar, 3-D bookmark, two silver coins and two licence plates, one on her car and one on her husband’s car.

A unique item in Billey’s collection was given to her as a Christmas gift. It is a wooden tiger in a frame, pieced together like a puzzle using different types of wood. It was made locally by a retired union electrician where her late husband had worked.

The wooden tiger and the framed tapestry from the Bloomsburg Fair are her two favorite items in her collection of about 40 tigers.

Billey said her tigers are displayed in her home on the walls, in curio cabinets and some also sit on the floor.

She is in search of a large ceramic or porcelain Siberian tiger to add to her collection. She also said that she still receives tiger items from her friends and relatives, but only buys herself what she really wants.

Another item in her collection that has special meaning to her is one of her T-shirts that was given to her as a gift. “A friend went to Las Vegas for her honeymoon 15 years ago and saw a Siegfried and Roy show and got a shirt for me,” Billey said.

Along with tigers, Billey also collects lighthouses. She said she has about 30 in a 6-foot by 12-foot bathroom and more framed pictures in other rooms in her house, including four Thomas Kinkade lighthouse tiles.

If you or someone you know has a collection that would like to be featured in the Sun-Gazette, contact the Lifestyle Department at 326-1551 ext. 3109 or email life@sungazette.com.