Assembling a collection that rivals no other is a challenge that many of us aspire to, but few ever achieve. So, what does it take to become a super-collector? What are the stages of building a museum-worthy collection? Here’s how I see it…
1. The Spark is Lit
For whatever reason, you are attracted to an item and place a sentimental value on it that is much higher than its monetary value. Different people are affected by items in different ways. You may have a deep emotional attachment to an item for any number of reasons, with nostalgia being the one that seems to affect pop culture collectors the most. Maybe you saw a movie or TV show as a kid and could never forget how you connected with it at the time. Items that bring back those memories still resonate with you today, and you want to rekindle those feelings any way that you can.
2. The Gathering Stage (AKA the Hoarding Stage)
After realizing that you really cherish a particular item or pop culture property, you seek out anything and everything relating to that topic. You buy just about anything you can find, and quickly amass a large quantity of items. The condition or rarity of the items is not important at this stage — it’s all about obtaining as much as you possibly can and Scrooge McDucking it in all your spoils.
3. Collection Intervention
After amassing a vast quantity of items, you start to focus more on the quality of the items in your collection. You buy better examples, to replace the low-quality items you got earlier. You now begin to realize where your passion really lies, and start to focus your collecting efforts in more defined niches. It’s no longer about having the most items, it’s about having the best items.
During this phase, you sell or trade away many of the items in your collection to make way for others. Shelf space is at a premium, and you only want to display the best items you have found. Your collection is outgrowing your space, and purging is a great way to free up space and also make money to be able to spend on higher-quality items.
Looking back at how far your collection has come, you and are proud of what you have assembled. You are now an expert in the field and are very selective about any new items that you procure. Your focus is now on the rarer and more expensive items. You are more intent on displaying your items well, with shelving and lighting, and custom framing. Your collection is something that you enjoy sharing with others and you also appreciate the personal connections you have made over the years with fellow collectors.
5. Rinse & Repeat
Once you have successfully assembled a museum-worthy collection, you realize that there are no more items to find. The thrill of the hunt is no longer present because you have already bagged all the trophies, and now your gaze starts to wander to the next shiny object. The vicious cycle begins anew.
What do you think, does this sound like you? What did I leave out or get wrong? Add your comments below.
Cody Mix says
I am currently well into stage 3, the abundance has outpaced the space (well technically the space keeps shrinking). I think this is a pretty spot on explanation of the phases we collectors go through. May need to add in “financial turmoil” somewhere.
Yeah, “financial turmoil” is probably present in all stages of collecting. 😉
Yeah – I know these stages well although I never get to Stage 4. Usually just skip to Stage 5.
I rarely get past stage 1 these days. The spark gets lit, but then I quickly l0se interest before I commit financially. Even when I do get past that 1st stage, I don’t worry about collecting entire lines. I pick and choose my favorites. More often than not, I’m only interested in 1 or 2 figures, and then I’m done. Then, 6 months later, I’ll sell them to make money to buy something else that interests me.
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I would even be considered a collector.
You’re a collector of collections! 🙂
I like to think my pickiness makes me a connoisseur. 😉