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Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 11:26 AM   #1
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Why do people start collections?

My husband was a collector and now, after his death, I am dealing with the sorting and selling of stuff. I know that he enjoyed his collections and I think part of the allure was the hunt involved in finding things. He didn't collect junky stuff but collectables such as World Fair, books (more than 4000 books), glass, old phonographs, stamps, odds and end antiques...stuff to me. Now, I have to deal with unloading everything. I am having an auction sale later this month so that should prove interesting.

I have to admit that earlier in our marriage, my husband and I both enjoyed going to auctions and bidding on "stuff" as well as attending antique shows...so I am to blame for some of this collecting.

So, I guess I am interested in knowing if anyone else has collections and if they plan to sell those collections at some point or just let them grow and let their heirs deal with it.
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 11:48 AM   #2
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I know my father has collected coins for decades... ever since he was a boy. It's served as both a joy and an investment hedge in case of a credit crisis.

I used to collect baseball cards, but grew out of that phase. Now I collect money.
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 11:55 AM   #3
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I collect firewood. I spend a lot of time hunting for it, gathering it, splitting it, arranging it, looking at it, and taking pictures of it. Then I burn it.

My theory is that collecting is related to the innate desire to hunt. There's a big evolutionary advantage in enjoying locating and tracking down animals, fish, edible plants, and firewood, so it's not surprising that people enjoy tracking down rare Barbie dolls on Ebay.

I'd also guess that the pleasure you get sitting around looking at your Barbies is similar to the pleasure primitive man got by looking at his stored up salted boar, or his collected firewood.


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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:02 PM   #4
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Re: Why do people start collections?

happy2bretired:

I've had a discussion about my telegraph key collection with DW. I enjoy the collection for its own sake and do not consider it an investment, although it is worth somewhere in the low five figure area. If I die first, she would have to "deal with it." But rather than have this be a difficult or time consuming project, I've provided a list of outlets where she could dispose of it easily, although certainly not at top dollar. But, who cares? This is a hobby I enjoy and any losses than occur on disposing of the collection would not be out of line with the cost of most other hobbies. Why make it hard?

I have a workshop with a lot of hand and power tools. I've told DW to simply allow my son to come and take what he wants and then make an appointment for Goodwill to come and get the rest. Do it the simple way. Don't worry that a planer that should have sold for $400 used gets hauled away for free. It's not worth it. And I don't feel like getting rid of the stuff yet because I still go down there and play around with it once in a while.

I have no idea what your financial situation is, but for us the value of these non-monetary assets is so low compared to the value of our monetary assets, obcessing over maximizing the disposal value just makes no sense. I have friends who will manage their portfolios inefficiently on one hand yet obcess over getting absolute top penny for each item sold at a garage sale.

In your case, why not just spend a few hours going through the "stuff" and pick out anything you'd like to keep. Then, call in an appropriate dealer or broker and have them haul it away for whatever they'll pay and be done with it?

Leaving your "stuff" for your heirs to deal with is OK......... If you make it quick and easy for them!

My sympathies on the passing of your husband and I wish you all the best.



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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:23 PM   #5
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I often say jokingly to Frank that I must be genetically defective somehow, because I seem to have missed receiving the "collecting gene". When it comes to collecting, I just don't get it.

I don't see the pleasure in filling the house up with stuff that is not individually appreciated. If I already have one of whatever-it-is, why would I want two or more? I know there must be some satisfaction to be found in it. I do not have a clue as to what that is.

Maybe I have not found the right type of item to inspire my inner collector (if that part of me exists).
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 12:40 PM   #6
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I think "collecting" is a mild form of OCD. The only cure is running out of room and money.
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I collected the entire works of John D. MacDonald (the fellow who wrote all that great Florida fiction and the Travis McGee series). The catch: all are paperbacks! I read and enjoy them, and even spent $80 on one especially rare one. I hope that they will be easy to give away (they are listed on the itemized property sheet attached to our wills to be given away to our friend Bobby, another fan).

Beyond that, I seem to collect dogs.

Good luck getting rid of so much stuff, and trying to figure out the appropriate values. Let us know how the auction goes. My sympathies on your loss.

Sarah
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 01:36 PM   #8
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I always figured I would die in my house, and it would be someone else's job to deal with my stuff. But it looks like I will sell the homestead before too long, so I have a lot of stuff to dispose of.

The only thing of value I have is some early renaissance engravings and wooodcuts, some Japanese erotica and some engravings by Howgarth. I like them all, and will just move them. Right now I have them in my bank.

I have my parent's silver set which I might sell soon, otherwise assorted mechanics tools and woodworking and carpentry tools. If neither of my sons has bought a house by the time I move out, I may just store the good tools until they can take them.

I have always enjoyed using tools given to me or willed to me by older relatives.

My other "collection" is pictures of 30s and 40s actresses smoking, and DVDs with good smoking scenes. So far, this is all electronic.

No, I don't smoke, but somehow these images speak to me.

Ha
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: Why do people start collections?

1979 - 2005 Don't own anything you can't afford to lose! Fish camp over Lake Ponchartrain outside the levee.

Katrina took care of any incipient collections. Did save tax records, two file cabinets of DRIP stocks, 7 Jimmy Buffett shirts, four pairs of cutoffs - assorted underwear.

Heh heh heh heh - more a pack rat than collector - stuff piles up! Not necessarily collectible stuff - just dang old stuff.
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 01:49 PM   #10
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
No, I don't smoke, but somehow these images speak to me.
They remind you of your youth!
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 01:51 PM   #11
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I have enjoyed reading your responses so far. Just returned to my computer from packing books and need a break.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I collect firewood. I spend a lot of time hunting for it, gathering it, splitting it, arranging it, looking at it, and taking pictures of it. Then I burn it.

My theory is that collecting is related to the innate desire to hunt. There's a big evolutionary advantage in enjoying locating and tracking down animals, fish, edible plants, and firewood, so it's not surprising that people enjoy tracking down rare Barbie dolls on Ebay.

I'd also guess that the pleasure you get sitting around looking at your Barbies is similar to the pleasure primitive man got by looking at his stored up salted boar, or his collected firewood.

Al T....I got a laugh out of your collection. My father-in-law had a wood pile, but it wasn't nicely stacked like yours. My mother-in-law sold it with her house after he died.


Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet

I have a workshop with a lot of hand and power tools. I've told DW to simply allow my son to come and take what he wants and then make an appointment for Goodwill to come and get the rest. Do it the simple way. Don't worry that a planer that should have sold for $400 used gets hauled away for free. It's not worth it. And I don't feel like getting rid of the stuff yet because I still go down there and play around with it once in a while.

I have no idea what your financial situation is, but for us the value of these non-monetary assets is so low compared to the value of our monetary assets, obcessing over maximizing the disposal value just makes no sense. I have friends who will manage their portfolios inefficiently on one hand yet obcess over getting absolute top penny for each item sold at a garage sale.

In your case, why not just spend a few hours going through the "stuff" and pick out anything you'd like to keep. Then, call in an appropriate dealer or broker and have them haul it away for whatever they'll pay and be done with it.
Thanks youbet. I had my husband's brothers pick out what books they wanted as well as the library from the university that my husband graduated from. My daughter and I are also keeping quite a few. I told my daughter that I think from now on when I travel I will take a book and leave it. I guess I feel like that way I will be including my husband in my travels. He really liked to travel.

I am not worrying about how much I can get from selling it, but it really is a lot of work... :P

I am also taking the opportunity of selling some of my mother's things that I inherited. I held on to her things for so long and it's just time for me to let go of things. I think I have really changed in my views on holding on to things since I have been reading this board. Stuff can really hold a person down.

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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:01 PM   #12
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2
1979 - 2005 Don't own anything you can't afford to lose! Fish camp over Lake Ponchartrain outside the levee.

Katrina took care of any incipient collections. Did save tax records, two file cabinets of DRIP stocks, 7 Jimmy Buffett shirts, four pairs of cutoffs - assorted underwear.
Unclemick. I have thought about that too. I live in a tornado prone state plus I always have fire, for some reason, in the back of my mind. I think after the auction, I will start organizing and making sure that I get my paperwork sorted out and safely stored. I also want to gather all my pictures and get them stored away safely. Those pictures are priceless.
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:02 PM   #13
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Happy, I realize that it is even harder for you getting rid of things since you are probably emotional about the loss of your husband - give yourself time.

My husband hasn't died, he's decided that he will most likely take a job in Japan, so we are starting to think about what we will take, what we will keep in storage and what we will dispose of. Luckily neither of us is a "collector," but it still seems like a lot to deal with.


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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:07 PM   #14
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Re: Why do people start collections?

TromboneAL reminded of a few people in my growing up days in the PacNW - the Driftwood collectors all the way from small inhouse dust collectors to yard sized decorations - often highly modified/preserved in various ways.

I suppose they still exist. In the early 50's I remember the Japanese float collectors also.

heh heh heh
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:22 PM   #15
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I had a brief affair with the collecting bug. It lasted about three years, and cost me about $800, maybe. I consider that an inexpensive hobby. I collected Hall China - mostly teapots and pitchers, like this:

http://tinyurl.com/3759jd
or this
http://tinyurl.com/3ydksn

My mom loved haunting the flea markets, and probably bought twice as much as I did. I'm getting bored with it. Unfortunately it seems like so is everybody else. The prices on E-bay are nowhere near what they used to be. But I'll still probably sell off all but a few favorites in the next few years.

My bigger problem is needed to deal with what my mother left behind. The emotional part if it is the worst, as someone already mentioned.

My mother had her own collections, and then she inherited all the things my Grandmother collected.

Mom collected coffee mugs - it was a fun and easy souvenir, and we brought them back from our travels for probably 20 years or more. There are about 200 I think. I suggested we split them up and use them, but my brother seems intent on keeping the collection intact - so he has to find a place to store it!

There is also a collection of carnival glass, and many many knick-knacks and figurines - mostly Royal Daulton - something I have no interest in, but feel attached since they meant some much to mom and gram.

THEN there are all the Barbies and other toys she saved from our childhood. There are some toys from HER childhood that I'll keep - cast iron banks and doll house furniture. I think there is a fairly complete set of model trains that belonged to my uncle in the 1930's...

And what am I to do with my mother's wedding dress?? I'm not getting married anytime soon, it's way too fancy if I did, and I probably wouldn't fit into it. But how do you sell something like that??

Yikes! This topic really struck a nerve!
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:35 PM   #16
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Oh Sheryl...I feel your pain.

I really know where you're coming from. When my mother died, my husband and I took a U-Haul TRUCK and picked up all of her things and stored them in our garage. I sold a good portion at garage
sales but kept way too much. I also have my mother's wedding dress
My grandmother did needle work - I am selling most of that too. I have my great grandmother's tilt top table that went to Oklahoma and back on a covered wagon, many many years ago...selling that too.

I am not a museum curator for past generations.
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:36 PM   #17
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Quote:
And what am I to do with my mother's wedding dress?? I'm not getting married anytime soon, it's way too fancy if I did, and I probably wouldn't fit into it. But how do you sell something like that??
You could donate it:

http://makingmemories.org/brides_aga...st_cancer.html

(or look for local organizations)
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:49 PM   #18
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Re: Why do people start collections?

I still have almost every comic book I ever bought as a kid. (about 2000 issues) I've got a lot of pretty decent stuff like Amazing Spiderman issues #1 to #100. A pristine copy of Spiderman #1 can sell for as much as $30K... however unfortunately my copy is hardly pristine.

After I ER when I have more time to manage things, I'm going to put it all up for sale on EBAY.


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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 02:56 PM   #19
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Happy,
I was in the same spot as you are .My late husband collected circus models and built an entire circus including working rides ( the roller coaster was a little iffy .it went up fine but sometimes the car went off the track on the way down ). He also had an autograph collection including Babe Ruth. The circus I donated to a circus museum .The unfinished models I advertised for $200.00 . Sold them in one day .A circus tent he had built I gave to a former clown.
A few years later I researched the autographs and sold Babe Ruth for $2,000.I still have a few things that I'm getting rid of on Eba .I don't make a lot of money but it keeps me amused.
While you are selling things you need to be careful . New widows attract some strange people !
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Re: Why do people start collections?
Old 03-06-2007, 03:21 PM   #20
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Re: Why do people start collections?

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2
In the early 50's I remember the Japanese float collectors also.

heh heh heh
My wife still has floats we got off the beach long ago. I also have a nice little collection of arrowheads that I picked up as a boy walking behind a plow. And a fossil of an alder leaf that I got out of a swamp in Skagit county.

Oh yeah, and some silver coins that I saved from back in the 60s. Nice coins!

Ha
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