Collecting

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The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining items that are of interest to an individual collector. Collections differ in a wide variety of respects, most obviously in the nature and scope of the objects contained, but also in purpose, presentation, and so forth. The range of possible subjects for a collection is practically unlimited, and collectors have realised a vast number of these possibilities in practice, although some are much more popular than others.

Contents

In collections of manufactured items, the objects may be antique or simply collectable. Antiques are collectable items at least 100 years old, while other collectables are arbitrarily recent. The word vintage describes relatively old collectables that are not yet antiques.

Collecting is a childhood hobby for some people, but for others a lifelong pursuit or something started in adulthood. Collectors who begin early in life often modify their aims when they get older. Some novice collectors start purchasing items that appeal to them then slowly work at learning how to build a collection, while others prefer to develop some background in the field before starting to buy items. The emergence of the internet as a global forum for different collectors has resulted in many isolated enthusiasts finding each other.

A collection of nutcrackers NutcrackerCollection.JPG
A collection of nutcrackers

Types of collection

Stamp album used for collecting stamps Stamp album sleeve.jpg
Stamp album used for collecting stamps

The most obvious way to categorize collections is by the type of objects collected. Most collections are of manufactured commercial items, but natural objects such as birds' eggs, butterflies, rocks, and seashells can also be the subject of a collection. For some collectors, the criterion for inclusion might not be the type of object but some incidental property such as the identity of its original owner.

Some collectors are generalists with very broad criteria for inclusion, while others focus on a subtopic within their area of interest. Some collectors accumulate arbitrarily many objects that meet the thematic and quality requirements of their collection, others—called completists or completionists—aim to acquire all items in a well-defined set that can in principle be completed, and others seek a limited number of items per category (e.g. one representative item per year of manufacture or place of purchase). [1] Collecting items by country (e.g. one collectible per country) is very common. The monetary value of objects is important to some collectors but irrelevant to others. Some collectors maintain objects in pristine condition, while others use the items they collect.

Value of collected items

Herbert Kullmann, picture sale catalogue by Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, May 1914. Herbert Kullmann May 1914 sale catalogue.jpg
Herbert Kullmann, picture sale catalogue by Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, May 1914.

After a collectable has been purchased, its retail price no longer applies and its value is linked to what is called the secondary market. There is no secondary market for an item unless someone is willing to buy it, and an object's value is whatever the buyer is willing to pay. Depending on age, condition, supply, demand, and other factors, individuals, auctioneers, and secondary retailers may sell a collectable for either more or less than what they originally paid for it. Special or limited edition collectables are created with the goal of increasing demand and value of an item due to its rarity. A price guide is a resource such as a book or website that lists typical selling prices.

Products often become more valuable with age. The term antique generally refers to manufactured items made over 100 years ago, [2] although in some fields, such as antique cars, the time frame is less stringent. For antique furniture, the limit has traditionally been set in the 1830s. Collectors and dealers may use the word vintage to describe older collectables that are too young to be called antiques, [3] including Art Deco and Art Nouveau items, Carnival and Depression glass, etc. Items which were once everyday objects but may now be collectable, as almost all examples produced have been destroyed or discarded, are called ephemera .

Psychological aspects

Psychological factors can play a role in both the motivation for keeping a collection and the impact it has on the collector's life. These factors can be positive or negative. [4]

The hobby of collecting often goes hand-in-hand with an interest in the objects collected and what they represent, for example collecting postcards may reflect an interest in different places and cultures. For this reason, collecting can have educational benefits, and some collectors even become experts in their field.

Maintaining a collection can be a relaxing activity that counteracts the stress of life, while providing a purposeful pursuit which prevents boredom. The hobby can lead to social connections between people with similar interests and the development of new friendships. It has also been shown to be particularly common among academics.[ citation needed ]

Collecting for most people is a choice, but for some it can be a compulsion, sharing characteristics with obsessive hoarding. When collecting is passed between generations, it might sometimes be that children have inherited symptoms of obsessive–compulsive disorder. Collecting can sometimes reflect a fear of scarcity, or of discarding something and then later regretting it.

Carl Jung speculated[ by whom? ] that the widespread appeal of collecting is connected to the hunting and gathering that was once necessary for human survival. [5] Collecting is also associated with memory by association and the need for the human brain to catalogue and organise information and give meaning to ones actions.

History

"Musei Wormiani Historia", the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities 1655 - Frontispiece of Museum Wormiani Historia.jpg
"Musei Wormiani Historia", the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities

Collecting is a practice with a very old cultural history. In Mesopotamia, collecting practices have been noted among royalty and elites as far back as the 3rd millennium BCE. [6] The Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty collected books from all over the known world at the Library of Alexandria. The Medici family, in Renaissance Florence, made the first effort to collect art by private patronage, this way artists could be free for the first time from the money given by the Church and Kings; this citizenship tradition continues today with the work of private art collectors. Many of the world's popular museums—from the Metropolitan in New York City to the Thyssen in Madrid or the Franz Mayer in Mexico City—have collections formed by the collectors that donated them to be seen by the general public.

The collecting hobby is a modern descendant of the "cabinet of curiosities" which was common among scholars with the means and opportunities to acquire unusual items from the 16th century onwards. Planned collecting of ephemeral publications goes back at least to George Thomason in the reign of Charles I and Samuel Pepys in that of Charles II. Collecting engravings and other prints by those whose means did not allow them to buy original works of art also goes back many centuries. The progress in 18th-century Paris of collecting both works of art and of curiosité, dimly echoed in the English curios, and the origins in Paris, Amsterdam and London of the modern art market have been increasingly well documented and studied since the mid-19th century. [7]

The involvement of larger numbers of people in collecting activities came with the prosperity and increased leisure for some in the later 19th century in industrial countries. That was when collecting such items as antique china, furniture and decorative items from oriental countries became established. The first price guide was the Stanley Gibbons catalogue issued in November 1865.

On the Internet

The Internet offers many resources to any collector: personal sites presenting one's collection, tools for tracking conditions and number of items collected, item identification tools, pricing guides, online collectable catalogs, online marketplaces, trading platforms, collector clubs, autograph clubs, collector forums, and collector mailing lists.

Some of the most popular collecting websites are StampWorld, Delcampe, and Numista.

Some of the most spread collectables online are stamps and coins.

Notable collectors

See also

Bibliography

Notes and references

  1. For example, book collector Rush Hawkins (1831–1920) sought the first and second books from every European printer before 1501, while illuminated manuscript collector Henry Yates Thompson (1838–1928) maintained a collection of exactly 100 items, selling his least preferable items to make room for new ones.
  2. For example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires that an antique "must be over 100 years of age at the time of importation". U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP Information Center (27 September 2019). "Duty on personal and commercial imports of antiques, artwork" . Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  3. For example, the arts and crafts sales website Etsy requires "vintage" items sold on their platform to be "at least 20 years old". "Vintage Items on Etsy". 18 October 2017.[ permanent dead link ]
  4. Mueller, Shirley M. (2019). Inside the Head of a Collector: Neuropsychological Forces at Play. Seattle. ISBN   978-0-9996522-7-5. OCLC   1083575943.
  5. Schwager, David (17 January 2017). "Why Do We Want This Stuff? Eight Views on the Psychology of Collecting". CoinWeek. Retrieved 16 April 2021.
  6. Thomason, Alison Karmel Thomason (2005). Luxury and Legitimation: Royal Collecting in Ancient Mesopotamia. Hampshire, U.K.: Ashgate Publishing Limited. ISBN   0754602389.
  7. Chronologically some essential works are C. Blanc, Le trésor de la curiosité (1857–58), E. Bonnaffé, Les collectionneurs de l'ancienne France (1873), l. Courajod, La livre-journal de Lazare Duvaux (1873), L. Clément de Ris, Les amateurs d'autrefois (1877), A. Maze-Sencier, Le livre des collectionneurs (1893), G. Reitlinger The Economics of Taste (1961), G. Glorieux's monograph, À l'Enseigne de Gersaint (2002).

Related Research Articles

Coin collecting is the collecting of coins or other forms of minted legal tender.

Costume jewelry Jewelry used to complement a particular costume

Costume jewelry includes a range of decorative items worn for personal adornment that are manufactured as less expensive ornamentation to complement a particular fashionable outfit or garment as opposed to "real" (fine) jewelry, which is more costly and which may be regarded primarily as collectibles, keepsakes, or investments.

Hobby Regular activity that is done for enjoyment

A hobby is considered to be a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time, not professionally or for pay. Hobbies include collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing sports, or pursuing other amusements. Participation in hobbies encourages acquiring substantial skills and knowledge in that area. A list of hobbies changes with renewed interests and developing fashions, making it diverse and lengthy. Hobbies tend to follow trends in society, for example stamp collecting was popular during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as postal systems were the main means of communication, while video games are more popular nowadays following technological advances. The advancing production and technology of the nineteenth century provided workers with more leisure time to engage in hobbies. Because of this, the efforts of people investing in hobbies has increased with time.

Philately Study of stamps and postal history and other related items

Philately is the study of postage stamps and postal history. It also refers to the collection, appreciation and research activities on stamps and other philatelic products. Philately involves more than just stamp collecting or the study of postage; it is possible to be a philatelist without owning any stamps. For instance, the stamps being studied may be very rare or reside only in museums.

Stamp collecting The collecting of postage stamps and related objects

Stamp collecting is the collecting of postage stamps and related objects. It is related to philately, which is the study of stamps. It has been one of the world's most popular hobbies since the late nineteenth century with the rapid growth of the postal service, as a never-ending stream of new stamps was produced by countries that sought to advertise their distinctiveness through their stamps.

Collectable Object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector

A collectable is any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector. Collectable items are not necessarily monetarily valuable or uncommon. There are numerous types of collectables and terms to denote those types. An antique is a collectable that is old. A curio is a small, usually fascinating or unusual item sought by collectors. A manufactured collectable is an item made specifically for people to collect.

Philatelic investment

Philatelic investment is investment in collectible postage stamps for the purpose of realizing a profit. Philatelic investment was popular during the 1970s but then fell out of favour following a speculative bubble and prices of rare stamps took many years to recover.

Antique

A true antique is an item perceived as having value because of its aesthetic or historical significance, and often defined as at least 100 years old, although the term is often used loosely to describe any object that is old. An antique is usually an item that is collected or desirable because of its age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era or time period in human history. Vintage and collectible are used to describe items that are old, but do not meet the 100-year criterion.

Objet dart Small works of decorative art that are not functional

Objet d'art literally means "art object" in French, but in practice, the term has long been reserved in English to describe works of art that are not paintings, large or medium-sized sculptures, prints, or drawings. It therefore covers a wide range of works, usually small and three-dimensional, of high quality and finish in areas of the decorative arts, such as metalwork items, with or without enamel, small carvings, statuettes and plaquettes in any material, including engraved gems, hardstone carvings, ivory carvings and similar items, non-utilitarian porcelain and glass, and a vast range of objects that would also be classed as antiques, such as small clocks, watches, gold boxes, and sometimes textiles, especially tapestries. Books with fine bookbindings might be included.

Scouting memorabilia collecting

Scouting memorabilia collecting is the hobby and study of preserving and cataloging Boy Scouting and Girl Guiding items for their historic, aesthetic and monetary value. Since collecting depends on the interests of the individual collector, the depth and breadth of each collection varies. Some collectors choose to focus on a specific subtopic within their area of general interest, for example insignia issued prior to the 1970s Boy Scouts of America requirement that all insignia have either the fleur-de-lis or the acronym BSA; or only the highest ranks issued by each nation. Others prefer to keep a more general collection, accumulating any or all Scouting merchandise, or Scouting stamps from around the world.

Deltiology Study and collection of postcards

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<i>Baseball Hobby News</i>

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As with many consumer products, early bicycles were purchased solely for their usefulness or fashionableness and discarded as they wore out or were replaced by newer models. Some items were thrown into storage and survived, but many others went to the scrapyard. Decades later, those with an interest in cycling and history began to seek out older bikes, collecting different varieties. Like other forms of collecting, bike collectors can be completists or specialists, and many have extensive holdings in bike parts or literature, in addition to complete bicycles.

Ultimate Collectors (2002–2003) was a show on Home and Garden Television (HGTV) for people who love to collect, or are fascinated by those who do. Each episode introduces viewers to the real "wow" collections and collectors. Some of the collections are valuable and some are not, but bet your bottom dollar, they're priceless to the people collecting them.

Element collecting

Element collecting is the hobby of collecting the chemical elements. Many element collectors simply enjoy finding peculiar uses of chemical elements. Others enjoy studying the properties of the elements, possibly engaging in amateur chemistry, and some simply collect elements for no practical reason. Some element collectors invest in elements, while some amateur chemists have amassed a large collection of elements—Oliver Sacks, for example. In recent years, the hobby has gained popularity with media attention brought by element collectors like Theodore Gray.

Catawiki Collection and auction site

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Knife collecting

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The City Reliquary Local museum in Brooklyn, NY

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Vintage design refers to an item of another era that holds important and recognizable value. This style can be applied to interior design, decor and other areas. Vintage design is popular and vintage items have risen in price. Outlets of vintage design have shifted from thrift store to shabby chic stores.