Lately, my collecting interests have been shifting. This isn’t anything new, my areas of interest have always been a work in process. I have shelves and boxes full of awesome 80’s toys, but they’ve started to lose a little luster for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the stuff, but if I’m searching on eBay, I’m no longer seeking it out. Ever since I was a kid, I would bounce around from one thing to another, so this is nothing new.
I probably think about this more than most, but when it comes to the enjoyment of collecting, there are several factors to consider: 1. Money, 2. Space, and 3. Passion.
To the first point, Money, this is always in limited supply for most of us. When you can focus your collecting budget on one theme, it makes things much more rewarding than trying to collect multiple areas. For example, if you collect DC super hero items, you’re going to go broke pretty quickly, but maybe you only want to collect a single character, well that can still be pricey, but if you narrow your focus down to just Aquaman items from pre-1990, you’ll be able to manage your money better. You will be able to concentrate your funds on a smaller number of “great” items, without the distraction of trying to keep up with the “Gotta Get ’em All” craziness that comes with new items. This is certainly no easy task, especially with all the amazing items being released these days for collectors, but if you can stick to your budgetary guns, it will result in a better feeling towards your collection.
Space is another concern. I am fortunate to have a room for my collection, but God forbid, anything should spill out into other areas of the house! My wife is very accommodating — to a point. So, within the confines of those four walls, space needs to be used wisely. I also have to live in that room, so it needs to be functional and not just a storage closet. There’s no way around it, when you amass vast quantities of stuff, it has to go somewhere. I like to enjoy my collection, and when I have items piled high around me, it makes me feel anxious. When the cave gets a good cleaning after a purge, the feeling is incredible — I can enjoy the items on the shelves and walk around without tripping over a recent purchase!
The last concern for the collector is Passion. I don’t think I’m unique in having shifting areas of interest. One year, I might be all about collecting board games, and then I’ll just be over them and move on to collect something else. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, as long as you can let things go when the passion is no longer there. In my opinion, passing things along to other collectors, who will then have a chance to enjoy the items, is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a collector. I don’t view collecting as a money-making scheme (if I did, I’d be a grade-A idiot), I collect because I enjoy possessing items, even briefly. When I come across an unusual piece, I like to examine it from all angles, photograph it, research it online, and discuss it with others. Over time, my excitement over the item may fade, and I’ll pass it on to another collector.
I’ve been doing this a while, and it’s fun for me to think back over the years of collecting and realize which items still get me excited (cough, Batman). I’m curious to know how you feel about the current state of your collection. Do you still enjoy it? Has it ever become a financial or emotional burden on you? Have you ever lost interest in your collecting pursuits? How did you handle that?