Welcome to the Rosary Collector’s Guide

16 Jan

For over 50 years, I have been collecting rosaries.  My earliest recollection of the rosary was that of my Irish grandfather who always carried a black ebony rosary that he brought to America from Ireland in the late 1800’s.  He went to  church daily and hung his rosary over a pew as he prayed on it during the Latin mass.  Of course, everyone in the family carried a rosary, the men in their pockets, and the women in their purses.  At First Communion, girls carried a white or pink rosary, and the boys a black or blue one.  Rosaries were given as gifts for birthdays, Christmas, and as special awards for academic achievement.  For these events, they were often inscribed with the recipient’s name and the date.

I was not a serious rosary collector until the day I decided to gather all my family rosaries, including the ones I bought in the 1940’s from Missionaries who sold them in the back of the church during Novenas.

One day I noticed a rosary in a shop that did not have the usual number of beads and I wondered why.  That sparked my interest in finding out why it was different and was the beginning of my collection and curiosity about variations of the rosary.  Since that time, I have spent hours researching and identifying rosaries I have found in church stores, antique shops, and open-air markets.

As my collection grew, I searched for a collector’s guide that would describe in pictures and words the rosaries I discovered.  When I found that there were many excellent rosary prayer books but none with identifying photos, names, descriptions, and origins,  I decided to continue my own research and write a guide.

With the help of my daughter, Dr. Helen Hoffner, a professor at Holy Family University, I have written a book, The Rosary Collector’s Guide.  It is a 152 page, hardcover book with 240 color photographs of unique rosaries gathered from churches and shrines throughout the world as well as historical information on various rosaries, crosses, crucifixes, and center medals.   The Rosary Collector’s Guide is available on Amazon.com as well as in many bookstores and gift shops.

Each week I will use this blog to post pictures and describe interesting variations of the rosary. The rosaries you will see in my pictures are not for sale.  The pictures are for identification purposes only.   You are welcome to contact me by e-mail at rosarycollector@aol.com if you are curious about an interesting rosary you have found and I will try to answer your questions.


We are often able to bring our extensive collection of rosaries to show to church groups, school groups, and community organizations. If you would like to arrange a presentation, please contact us at rosarycollector@aol.com


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