What do you collect?
Money is no object, except that it is the only object that gets you another object. Like anything we value, a certain price comes with it. Something sentimental could become priceless, like a letter or a family heirloom. Other things appear odd and rather useless on the surface, like bottle caps or ticket stubs. The fine line between hoarder and collector is somewhere between the eye of the beholder and the critic outside the beholder's gaze. Something has to be said about the devotion and necessity behind collections.
Every month at eight-years-old, I would scour the reclusive corners of dime stores and grocery chains holding rows and shelves of trading card games. The artistic packaging drew me in and I knew one of them had to hold a rare, holographic card worth having in your towers of decks back home. Even though all the cellophane was labeled the same, the magic eight ball mindset in me kept buying and ripping open every card pack I could get before the next kid took "the one" before me. Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! were the contenders of the early collector in me, so I bought each one in bulk.
With all these cards to sort through for that prized, winner of a card, the hobby and game started to play me. I did not need all these cards, just the card I wanted. It is a gamble spending almost all of your allowance money growing up, especially in a half hour trip to the store, Supply and demand hit me faster than a Yu-Gi-Oh! Trap Card and a holographic Charizard.
What did it mean to have duplicates of the same card to go through only to have that one card that mattered more than the rest? Collecting became a hobby I was less than satisfied with very quickly. I never knew what a collection's purpose was.
It was one thing to be the kid with thousands of trading cards but it meant another to be that kid with too many trading cards. I did not know what was worth having or keeping in my growing piles of square pieces of art. Art found in a trading card game? That was unheard of but an original thought at my age. So while I stopped purchasing more Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon cards, I became more selective with the cards that had an artistic value for me. Soon enough, I was not playing the trading card game; I created my own rules of the game instead.
Collectors look at their collections as a conglomerate of creativity, whether those things are related or exactly the same.
They think of their cornucopias as a feast for the eyes, a historical preservation project, or just an honest hobby.
Having a collection is a labor of love; it can take a lot of maintenance and sorting to make it plausible. Looking back at it all, on a wall, in a display case, or in an entire room dedicated to the plethora, the spectacle was well worth having from the start.
No collections are ever the same as the next and they do not have a one size fits all. Whatever the collection becomes it eventually becomes an extension of the collector. The care and attention to the things collected is a testament not to the knee-jerk reactionary purchases, but to the emotions and meanings, these things inspire in the collector and the viewer.
One man's trash is another man's treasure and sometimes trash and treasure are not so exclusive.