Saturday, 30 August 2008

Collecting things

One big difference between Jo and I is in relation to collecting things. Over the years I have collected all sorts of things but Jo is not a collector by nature. Similarly, Helen is a collector but Ian and GB are not (unless you count gadgets in GB's case and drills in Ian's.)

I wondered why some people collect things so I Googled the concept. One museum site had a heading of my exact words - "Why do people collect things?" But it then totally failed to give the answer.

In an article by Susan Pearce, who has written seven books on the subject of collecting, various reasons are put forward as to why people collect but I think the one that most strikes a chord with me is the hunt. Tracking things down, or simply the joy of serendipitous discovery, is the main fun of the collecting habit. Displaying the collection is secondary and any financial gain is definitely very low down on the list for me.

Among the things that I have collected over the years are the following:-

Liverpool Football Club memorabilia
Beer mats
(Did you know collectors of beermats are called tegestologists)
Fruit labels
Conifer cones
Model Formula 1 cars
Ornamental owls
Rock and mineral specimens
Letter Boxes (not the letter boxes themselves but I hunted them down so as to photograph them)

I also treat a number of my natural history interests as one would a collection. For example, I record the moths I have seen and each one added to the collection is a delight. I suspect that in Victorian times, prior to decent and easy macro photography, I would have been one of those chaps with lots of glass topped drawers full of butterflies and other insects, all neatly pinned and labelled.

Those who don't collect things are missing out on the excitement of the chase and that great buzz you get when another item is added to your collection. But, I guess, if you are not inclined to hunting you wouldn't feel the same.


  1. It is definitely the hunt that makes collecting things interesting. My current collections include; Runrig records, coins and any series of books where I have the first one -- getting them all in the matching covers is a bonus.

    I used to actually collect moths and butterflies (only ones I found dead) but unfortunately Bryony won't let me have them in the house so they are still pinned to polystyrene sheets in wooden boxes (not glass topped drawers) at my parents house.

  2. I am definitely both a collector and a hoarder.


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