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There’s something called coaster mafia, it includes people who are so fussy as to demand that their guests use coasters to place empty glasses on tables covered with cloth that would otherwise absorb all kinds of liquids perfectly well.

There are some who wouldn’t mind placing their favourite cuppa on any flat surface, but not the coaster-obsessed members of society.

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But isn’t that the point of being a collector? Anyone who digs collectibles is allowed some quirks. And for coaster collectors it doesn’t end at design, they are also particular about material that absorbs condensation and does not drop off embarrassingly every time the mug is lifted.

First introduced as cardboard beermats in Germany (of course) back in 1880, coasters still serve the purpose and do so in style. Continuing with our Collectors’ Corner series, here are the best places to start spending:

1. Poster Gully

They have the coolest coaster collection – 389 pages of designs to browse through! Much like Cupick we covered before, Delhi-based Poster Gully brings you artworks directly from independent artists. A single coaster costs Rs 125, and a set of 4 with a case costs Rs 499, i.e until the sale ends!

2. The Souled Store

Mumbai-based Souled Store offers a whole bunch of coaster designs that would appeal to any comic book fans and official merchandise junkies. Think South Park, Harry Potter, Coldplay, Flintstones (!), Pink Floyd, LOTR and them some more. A set of 4 costs Rs 399 on average.

3. Mojarto

Mojarto is NDTV’s online art platform selling artist collectibles since 2005. They have 11 sets of coasters to choose from, including artworks by SH Raza, Manjit Bawa and Chameli Ramachandran.

Their prices vary depending on who the artist is, a set of 4 coasters ranging between Rs 250 and Rs 1,500. Oh ya, and they have a 10% off offer on first 1,000 bucks spent buying collectibles. Go for it.

4. Unposted Letters

The Bangalore-based studio Unposted Letters believes in limited editions. Their designs are unique in that they are thoughtful yet not overdone. There are two sets of coasters on offer – the Day and Night series we rather like, available in a set of 4 for Rs 800 and sent to you in a bag that is a collectible by itself.

5. Kulture Shop

Kulture Shop is familiar to most Mumbaikars for its colourful store opposite Mehboob Studios in Bandra (they also sell online), stocked with designs from a slew of cool and upcoming graphic artists from around India. There are 49 coaster sets to choose from, a set of 4 priced at Rs 795.

6. Letternote

The stationary experts need no introduction – Letternote has been producing excellent, clean designs for some time now.

They have 30 coaster designs on offer, and the best part is that they sell single coasters, allowing you to mix and match as many as you like instead of being saddled with 4 identical ones. Prices range between Rs 145 to Rs 295.

Image Credit: TheSouledStore (1), (2)

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