The hobby of collecting is the “seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector. The scope of collecting is unlimited.” (Wikipedia: Collecting)

That’s a lengthy, very broad definition, and collecting also has a long history that can be traced to book collecting in ancient Egypt, art patronage and collecting during the Italian Renaissance period (14th – 16th centuries), and the acquisition by affluent scholars of unusual items “cabinet of curiosities” beginning in the 16th century.

There are many theories as to what compels so many of us to collect things. The yen felt by collectors may be connected to the human ‘hunter – gatherer’ survival instinct, and could also be fulfilling some psychological need relating to aspects of memory, organization, or purpose.

Billy Wilder (1906-2002), a legendary filmmaker, was an avid art collector. He described his passion for collecting as a “sickness”, and said, “I don’t know how to stop myself…………Name an object and I collect it.” There is no denying, however, Wilder enjoyed his hobby, saying it was “more fun than making movies”, and he acquired one of the finest and most extensive art collections in Hollywood. In 1989, a large selection of paintings and sculptures from his collection sold at auction for $32.6 million.

Edward Wharton-Tigar (1913-95), a decorated WWII British spy and business executive with a passion for cricket and collecting, amassed the world’s largest collection of cigarette cards (over 2 million).  His entire collection which includes a rare T206 Honus Wagner card is held by the British Museum.   After more than 75 years of collecting, Wharton-Tigar surmised his “collector’s mania” was hereditary. “My mother had it and so did my grandmother. If you have it, you have it. There is simply nothing you can do about it. You are driven by this desire to complete things.”

Lenny Shiller from Brooklyn NY talks about his motivation to collect classic cars and the enjoyment he has working on his eclectic collection in the video “Lenny’s Garage” from Bullrush Films.



More collectors tell their stories ⇒    Watch:  Collector Confessions      Medals Collector

Collecting, as with many hobbies, can lead to social connections and new friendships.  You can connect with people sharing similar interests by joining the On2In2™ social network via the “Engage” page.


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Wikipedia:  Collecting, T206 Honus Wagner
The Los Angeles Times, November 14, 1989 (Wilder Auction)
The New York Times, August 30, 1989 (Wilder Auction)
The Independent, September 3, 1994 (First Hand: I constantly dream about my card collection)


Feature photo of a troll doll collector is courtesy of Grastisographry CC0

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Posted by Zola Zeester

Zola is a vagabond playmaker, the On2In2™ recreation guru and primary source of inspiration for this article. Currently resides at Zeester Media HQ.