Salvation Army Captain Chas Engel is a man of many interests.
He has many collections, including brass instruments, Byers dolls and even cars.
But his favorite (and biggest) collection? That honor would go to his set of albums and merchandise featuring the band The Carpenters.
Capt. Chas Engel of the Salvation Army, at right, shows off some of his collection of his Carpenters memorabilia. Above are some of his Carpenters albums in different formats including CDs, 8-track tapes and CDs from Japan.
"They started in 1969 is when they did their first record, that's when I first heard of them. And over the years I've collected all their records in every format that they've ever done," Engel said. "So I have all their records, all the 8-track tapes, all the cassette tapes, reel-to-reel tapes, CDs, special edition stuff. I've got video tapes, I've got magazines that featured them on the cover, programs, brochures, advertising, leaflets and books that have been written by them."
The multi-collector started acquiring all sorts of things when he was young.
"My parents were Salvation Army officers, too, and Salvation Army officers get moved from town to town a lot. And so, when I was growing up, I went to a different school every year. And typically, when you're always the new kid in school, you don't tend to have many friends. And when you move place to place, nothing stays consistent except whatever it is that you take with you. I think I was probably six or seven when I started collecting things and it just kind of stuck with me," he said.
Engel became interested in The Carpenters when he heard their wholesome music as an alternative to the other popular music of the day. He bought their first record, and ever since he has purchased every recording produced by the band in every format available. He even has copies of their music produced for different countries, such as England and Japan.
"There's actually quite a big following of these folks, and Richard Carpenter still remixes music and releases it over and over again. Every five years they have a special edition that comes out, and I usually get all of those too because I'm what you call a 'completeist,' which means you gotta have everything," Engel said.
His favorite item, though, is one-of-a-kind. Engel has a binder from the 1978 Carpenters' Christmas special that belonged to Rod Warren, the screenwriter for the special. The binder has Warren's name on the front along with The Carpenters' logo. Inside, it's autographed by Gene Kelly and Georgia Engel, the guest stars in the special.
"That's the only one-of-a-kind thing I have," he said. "I have a record that has their autograph on it, but you can get the autographs. It's pretty hard to get a one-of-a-kind binder."
In all his collecting, Engel receives the support and interest of his friends and family, though sometimes they may not understand his interests at first.
"Well, with most of them (family and friends), it's like 'Ah, what's he collecting now?' But when I get the stuff out, most people go, 'Wow, that's kind of cool,' " he said.
Though his collection is massive, Engel is always looking to expand it. Currently, he's on the hunt for a limited edition Karen Carpenter bobblehead from the 1978 Christmas special. Obtaining this, he says, would be the ultimate thing for his collection. In the meantime, though, he still browses for special editions of their albums from other countries.
And after all these years, The Carpenters still hold a special place in Engel's heart.
"I'll admit, it's an odd one," he said of his collection. "But I still listen to it. When I put on a CD in the car, it's theirs."