Why do folks collect what?

What is it that makes some people collectors? And how and why do they decide what to collect? Is there a point at which a collection becomes, shall we say, exceptionally odd, say when it pretty much takes over someone’s house or all of their free time? Do you collect anything?

I remember this old couple in my old neighborhood who used to collect representations of blacks eating watermelon. My buddy’s wife collects penguins. Mrs. D seems to collect jewelry.

As a kid I collected postcards and pennants. Now I just collect dust.

sometimes collections occur by accident. I remember buying a little mouse figurine when I was about 10. Bingo. for the next 20 years, people thought I collected micey things. Same thing happened to my mom and owls.

I had a friend who’s wife ended up “collecting” pigs in the same manner. He hated them, and swore to her that he drew the line at the kitchen, “no pigs in the living room” said Dave.

So I gave them a Christmas ornament in the shape of a pig. :smiley:

Interesting question, ** Dinsdale, ** my mother-in-law used to get so upset because I wouldn’t collect things, ‘it makes buying things for you so much more difficult!’ I bought a Precious Figures that showed the girl reading a map [I had planned a vacation out, and hadn’t gotten lost and was pretty proud of it] She wanted to start buying those figurines for me, and I didn’t want anymore [why would they stay precious, if I had a hundred of them anyway??]

I think some people just like accumulating things, others like me, just think of how it collects dust, taking more time to keep it clean.

  • HOWEVER, * I do have enough videos [mainly old ones, gotta love black and white!] to start my own store! I don’t think that is the same thing, but hey, maybe it is. But, they are in a case, and don’t have to be dusted!! ALWAYS a good thing! :wink:

Besides things I collected when I was a kid (e.g. Hot Wheels), I just started accruing stuff because I was in a restaurant once that had all kinds of weird and unusual items hanging on the walls and from the ceiling (you’ve all been to one of these)…I thought it was the coolest!
Ever since, I started collecting stuff that reflected who I am. These include:
Green M&M Guys (found on top of seasonal/promtional candy containers).
Black Sheep (the name of my studio, plus it was the name of the hockey team I once played for).
Hockey Figures (not bobbin’ head dolls, but rather famous characters (e.g. Snoopy, Smurfs, Fred Flintstone, Garfield, etc. playing hockey).
…and lastly, my Winnie the Pooh collection, mostly made up of horrible bootleg versions of Pooh, like from the Island of Dr. Moreau. Most of these are stuffed in a large basket and referred to as “the Freak of Nature Basket.”

I dunno…just fun to do really.

I started collecting horse things when I was a child…I wanted a real horse so bad and I always got these statues for my birthday and x-mas. I finally got a real horse when I was twelve but continued to collect horse stuff. I have a few pieces of my collection on my webpage…I currently have over 150 different model horses. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy and obsessed with toy horses, but I really enjoy them and they’re cheaper than the real thing.

Hot Wheels!? Matchbox cars are much cooler. At least they were when I was a kid. I still have my collection packed away in my parents’ storage room.

DOLLS. Mostly Barbies, but I have the entire collection of dolls from the movie “Anastasia” except for one, and the Galoob Titanic Rose deWitt Bukater doll.
Right now, I just got the Franklin Mint Titanic Portrait Doll. And now I’m also ordering the outfits (five in all), the steamer trunk and the safe with the Heart of the Ocean necklace. It’ll cost me about three hundred bucks when it’s all paid for!

Some strange collections that many people, usually moms, have, are because stupid kids have no dea what to get them for presents. When I was a little kid, I realized I had forgotten to buy anything with the 30 bucks my dad had given me to buy my mom something for her birthday. I had like 5 bucks and 5 minutes left, so I bought her a ceramic thimble. I gave it to her and said I thought she would like it. Being a mom, she pretended it was the coolest thing thing she had ever gotten, and diplayed it proudly in a little case. Being a little kid, I thought she really liked it, and kept buying her another one for each birthday. Eventually other people started giving her thimbles thinking she was a collector, and she ended up with a couple hundred thimbles and gets more and more every year.

I collect Hot Wheels now after a twenty year absence. I rediscovered them when buying for my son. I love the older ones and am trying to get all the cars I had for him to play with also. MB are also cool as they were typically more realistic.
[shameless plug]
If any of you have old Hot Wheels you don’t want anymore, PLMK-I’m very interested! I esp. like the ones from the late 60’s thru the mid 70’s
[shameless plug/]

Yeah, I think a lot of times people just assume you collect a certain thing and start giving them to you. This happened to my mom with Santa Clauses. She had a lot of them for some reason and put them out at Christmas. People saw all of them, assumed she was a collector and started giving them as gifts. She doesn’t have the heart to tell them she’s not really a collector.

Every once in a while I think it would be cool to collect something. Adult playing cards, zippo lighters, samurai movies. A dreadful lack of money keeps me from following through on these.

I do however, have quite a collection of comic books. About 12 comic boxes full at the time being. I wouldn’t say I “collect” them, though. I just by the ones I want to read and don’t throw them away.

Do most people collect things because they think they might be worth something? Or do they collect them because they really like them?

i have a coin collection, i just want to get a few coins or currency from as many places as possible.
i have baseball cards, but it haS bees a while since i got any new ones, they just sit in a box on my shelf.
i even have a few dolls, but my favorite collection is my little boxes collection.

i have a round black box, with lid inlaid with chips of stone, pink, gold, blue , green, and purple.

i have a round wooden box with an agate dyed turquoise set in the lid

i have a ceramic mask-shaped box, a black swan painted on the eye opening, accented with purple and gold on a white ground.

i have a heart soapstone box, inlaid with a design of a pink flower with two buds and a leaf.my other soapstone box has a pink flower, with two green leaves and a brass border inlaid on its lid.

Well, I collect witch stuff. I find the many different representations of witches in different cultures/mediums/situations fascinating. I have evil-looking witch figurines, funny-looking witch dolls, goofy witch soap dispensers, “realistic” witch figures, etc.

I started buying Legion of Super-Hero comics
when I was 8 and just never stopped (I’m 45).

I have one of the world’s best collections of
Andrew Lloyd Webber (Cats, Phantom, Evita,
Superstar, etc) cast CDS. I specialize in
the foreign language stuff. Several reasons:
he’s good, they only appreciate in value,
it’s cultural, it gets me into New York
City and walking around, the thrill of
finding something really rare, the secondary
effect of slowing understading foreign
languages, and I’ve met some really nice
people who also collect.

Owls (obviously) and carousel animals [figurines, stuffed animals, paintings, posters, books about]. For some reason, Roommate keeps bringing me teddy bears (but I can’t fault a person for trying). Most are in storage right now because of HyperKitty. Obviuously.

I collect ceramic teddy bears. I don’t know why. They are just so darn cute. They are not taking over the house. I have a few really cute ones, that’s all. Maybe 20 or 30. I never counted them before. My favorites are the ones made out of Delph which I would also collect if I had the money.

My husband collects bald eagle figurines. He is very picky about what he thinks looks good and so we don’t have very many. He hates the really cheap ones and that’s usually what he gets for Christmas from his family. And don’t even get him started on the figurines with eyelashes painted on the eagles!

Our seven-year-old collects Pez dispensers. This started because when she was 2 1/2 she we were watching a show on nostalgic things and she went ga-ga for the Pez dispensers. She didn’t even understand that they came with candy! So, they are so cheap, we just started buying them for her and then other people started buying them for her. It’s kind of fun.

LOL!! I forgot about Roommate’s Bald Eagle figurines (in storage also, obviously). Also hates the cheesy one, especially where the eyes are looking in two different directions, or the babies in the nest have white heads. Never seen the ones with eyelashes :brrrrrr:

(side note - I’d send you the teddy bears, but it would break Roommate’s heart.)

OH! My most interesting collection is salt and pepper shakers. Not just ANY salt and pepper shakers. They are tiny, made from the time salt could be put into a shaker until the 1930’s. They are always glass and often have plastic lids, but can be glass too. They sit on either a plastic or glass tray. My husband’s grandmother gave me one set that was a wedding present to her and hubby’s grandpa. Then I’ve found one at a flea market and I was over-charged. They are worth between $3 and $9 and I thought this one should have been about $3 but I payed $6. The guy running the booth didn’t know anything about them and he was asking $12, so at least I didn’t pay that. Well, I couldn’t let it go! That’s it, just two sets, but I’d love to have more.

I will be the sympathetic voice of cynicism and agree with you, Dinsdale. I don’t get it either. I think I’m too much of a realist - to a fault. I started a “what’s so great about autographs” thread that has a similar feel to this one.
I don’t see the appeal of collecting things just to say you have them. I generally don’t acquire things I don’t plan on using. The only things I acquire in which their sole purpose is that they exist, is art, but then that’s the nature of art is it not (deep, huh?) But as for comic books, or coins, or dolls or whatever, I can’t imagine just having them for the sole reason of saying “this is my collection.”

Now, now, people, don’t go lambasting me. I won’t make fun of your crystal elephant collection if you don’t call me a heartless unsentimental bastard. Deal?

I agree with you, Jack. I consider it a pain in the ass maintaining and keeping track of all the stuff I NEED, I can’t imagine acquiring a whole bunch of more stuff I don’t need. Like you said, art is used if hanging on the wall. I guess I have about 4 masks from various parts of the world that are hanging in my son’s room. And I have a friend who collects old signs - his rec room looks like a Bennigan’s. Kinda neat, if you like that sort of thing. And books (comic or otherwise) can be read.

A few knicknacks in a curio cabinet are one thing. But I don’t understand why people collect things that they don’t even display. I remember hearing about people who actually collect cereal boxes. WTF!
Or you hear about people who collect something that takes over their whole house, or they have to have a room dedicated to it.
And then you hear about people who collect something really wierd, like not just any old household irons, but a special brand of old household irons made at a certain time. Just a completely different way of thinking than mine.
I guess serious coin and stamp collectors enjoy maintaining their collections. Is there something different about a person’s personality that makes them enjoy that?
Also, the idea of a toy having more value if it has never been unpacked just seems to kind of contradict the very essence of the item. What is a toy? Something a kid should play with.
Finally, I liked it better when we traded sports cards based on our sense of their value, and used them in our bike wheels, instead of because a books said they were worth a certain amount. JMO.

Disclaimer, part of my present attitude may be due to the fact that Mrs D’s dad is the ULTIMATE pack rat. He has a property in Michigan on which he has built several large barns/garages for the sole purpose of holding all of his crap. He is in the real estate business and he, as his dad before him, never throws anything away. You will look in these barns and find some neat stuff. Say some old jugs/crocks. And then you’ll see one of those old floating lounge chairs, with the styrofoam arms and webbed seat and back. The webbing is ripped, the frame is bent, and one of the arms is cracked. What the hell is he keeping THAT for? Does he think that will be of value someday? A running gag in the family is to estimate how many dumpsters it will take to haul away all the trash after he passes.

Final story. Mrs D’s grandfather owned a vacant theater and a bowling alley. He sold the bowling alley, but the purchaser did not want the several hundred bowling balls. So, the old man and his 2 boys hauled all of these bowling balls to the theater, where they placed one in each seat. They tossed a couple of dobermans in there as guard dogs, and did little other than hurl food through the door for them. A considerable time later, he sold the theater. Guess what? This guy didn’t want the bowling balls either! So my father-in-law, his brother, and his dad had to move them again. Except this time they had to shovel out several inches of dogshit to get at them. As my enlightened father-in-law put it, “It was so bad, you couldn’t even hire a Mexican to do it.” We fear the bowling balls still exist, and that after he dies, the estate will be dispersed, and we will open the doors to a building somewhere, to find it filled with bowling balls.

I don’t really collect anything. But there is one weird little thing I do. (OK, there’s more than one…) I have all the keys I have ever needed for the past twenty years on my keyring. Old cars, houses, offices, garage doors, suitcases. It’s only about 30. It’s easier to find them in the bottomless pit I call my purse. Before that, I would lose them often.