You probably thought this was going to be an article on the benefits a collections company can bring to your business, such as helping you recover debt or re-establish contact with late payers. Nope! We’re talking about a different kind of collection. The hobby kind. You’ve seen these collectors – they’re out on the weekend prowling the flea markets, lining up at 5am outside the toy store when a new item is released, wearing out their mouse scroll to stay up to date on auctions. All this seeking what seems like non-essential items may seem like a colossal waste of energy, effort, time, and money. We beg to differ. Turns out collections have lots of benefits, so read on to collect them all.
- Collecting Can Bring You Closer to Someone
No, we don’t mean closeness in terms of you elbowing another collector in the eye hole and out of the way just as he grabs the last Peanut the Elephant Beanie Baby. Collecting things can bring you closer to someone as you pursue a hobby together. Perhaps you traded baseball cards with a childhood friend and reconnect years later on Facebook, finding that you both still hoard the little cardboard rectangles. Your grandfather may have passed on, but you still collect stamps in his honor. Perhaps you and your mom make a Saturday ritual of scouring antique stores for china patterns, 20 years after she gave you your first plate. When you share a collection, you’ve got an instant topic of conversation and it never gets old.
- The World is Your Oyster
Literally. That pearl is waiting somewhere, which means you’ve just got to strap on your equipment and dive in. No matter what you collect, chances are that somewhere in the corners of the world, someone else collects it too. Or makes it, trades it, sells it. Perhaps this means you keep an eye out during your travels (it’s always a great time to get a new snow globe or souvenir state spoon). Or you purposely arrange travel to coordinate with collection-enhancing activities, such as conventions. Tour a new city while attending a PEZCon, for example, and you can add to your PEZ dispenser collection, take seminars on how to keep the candy containers clean, meet and trade with other collectors, and perhaps take a city tour or two while you’re there.
- The Calming Chase
Saying “The thrill of the chase is relaxing” seems like an oxymoron, but according to sources such as Heritage Auctions, which bills itself as the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer, collecting can actually be calming, relaxing, and a de-stressor. Perhaps it’s the laser-like focus that some collectors find themselves to have as they narrow in on their quarry. Trawling eBay for an hour, for example, may chase away anxiety after a tough work day or long commute. Of course, there’s always a happy moment when you score a new addition to the collection – especially for a steal, such as at a garage sale – and that act of acquisition may feel like a triumph, a natural time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
- Cool Control
Collectors may find many moments where they feel completely out of control. Perhaps they got in above their heads in a bidding war, found out they paid too much at an estate sale, missed out on a limited-edition item, or simply feel overwhelmed at the idea of ever completing their collections. But collecting can also offer a sense of control as well. For many collectors, that collection will always be ongoing. You wouldn’t want to finish it… because then what would you do? But what collectors do get to decide is what pieces they’ll seek out, their limits on spending, who they’ll buy from, even what research they’ll do. Even the most sprawling collection of vinyl records, for example, is probably highly controlled alphabetically, by genre, artist, or some other way that makes the collector feel cool, calm, and comfortable.
- An Opportunity to Learn
Ah, this one’s not just for the parents. Your chosen collectible offers a lot of ways for you to learn things as you go about adding to the collection. Don’t think that you can only learn from educational and high-brow collectibles such as old maps or textbooks. Collect tools? It can be a fun learning experience to understand why certain ridges were eliminated and handles refined and metals switched out. Stuffed bears? Why do some come with beans, some with stuffing, some with feathers? Look into the stitching, the dyes, the countries of origin, the intricate details that bring your collection – and the individual items comprising it – to life.
Are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles threatening to take over your dining room? Are you proud of a recent score on a wine varietal? Share your favorite collections and collecting memories below. You never know, you may just meet someone else who’s on the same search!