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Thread: Is the practice of collecting things good or bad?

  1. #1 Is the practice of collecting things good or bad? 
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Here's something I find interesting the idea of collecting, I can't really decide if I think it is ultimately a good or a bad thing.
    I personally like to collect things but is it actually good for me?


    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Collecting decaying mortar shells from the Eastern desert in Egypt is a bad idea. Other forms of collection may be productive. I like to collect money.


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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I like to collect money.
    Hey you can't say things like that took me 3 minutes to stop laughing and I spilled my coffee.
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    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Well, it's true. I'm now working on my third million. I gave up on the first two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Well, it's true. I'm now working on my third million. I gave up on the first two.
    If you plan on giving up any more of your millions please feel free to donate to the pmb car fund. It'd be very useful for a disabled person to have a car to get around. It'd make decisions to, say, go to the hospital much more easy to make.

    Cold hard cash is always good too. LOL!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmb View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Well, it's true. I'm now working on my third million. I gave up on the first two.
    If you plan on giving up any more of your millions please feel free to donate to the pmb car fund. It'd be very useful for a disabled person to have a car to get around. It'd make decisions to, say, go to the hospital much more easy to make.

    Cold hard cash is always good too. LOL!
    I don't think you quite understand what he meant, but anyway good luck with getting that donation for your car.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    I used to collect things. I had a very large collection of Transformer toys in the 80's. I could be retired now. Unfortunately they got thrown away by an overzealous parent when I was a teenager.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant View Post
    I used to collect things. I had a very large collection of Transformer toys in the 80's. I could be retired now. Unfortunately they got thrown away by an overzealous parent when I was a teenager.
    Did the experience make you more or less likely to want to collect things as an adult though?
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
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    Hmmm... I would have to say less actually. I do not have large collections of anything with the exception of books. I have a lot of books but then, who doesn't.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
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    Can we make this a good thread please? Its an interesting topic.
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    I have a lot of books but then, who doesn't.
    Some people have none at all. But we've recently cut down a bit. Moving house and closing a couple of offices, we had to retire quite a few of the 5000+ books we'd accumulated (collecting would be too grand a word for most of them. Art, cooking, gardening, old textbooks would count I suppose. But there's only a few hundred of those.)

    Other collections. Some seriously good glass and china (4 dinner sets!) as well as a goodly assortment of family china, lace and glassware. I could dignify my obsession with stationery and kitchen gadgets as collecting, but those purchases are in the irresistible impulse category. I'm not as bad as I once was. Wine!!! That's also declined over the years - can't drink the stuff very often with the medications I often take.

    Come to think of it, we've got rid of almost all the collectible antique things from our old house with the big rooms and the very high ceilings - just too large for this dear little house. Still got a fair few vases and the associated flower arranging equipment though. And the not-so-collectibles as well. Now I've only got 15ish, certainly less than 20, jigsaw puzzles - hard to know because I lend them out a fair bit.
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    I collect old chevy trucks as they go well with my profession, and also old coins as well as new and old tools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    I don't think you quite understand what he meant...
    What do you think he meant?
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    I do collect foreign coins... I just like the variety and beauty of some of them. As for the question is collecting good or bad? I think it depends on whether or not you allow your collections to take over your life and turn into hoarding and obsession. The mother of an ex-girlfriend started with colloecting beanie babies in the 80's. This turned into an obsession and led to divorce and a host of family problems. She spent every dime she made on the things and even though she had some that were high value items she refused to part with them untill the family had her commited and forcibly sold a large portion of the collection. Last I heard she now has to sell a beanie baby whenever she wants to get a new one.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

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    With that detachment from reality and failure to grasp the principles of finance it sounds like she could have been a succesful Wall Street banker, or government economist.
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    Oh dear, must be the time of year. I forgot my one true overpowering collection vice. Christmas decorations.

    I was always keen on them, and we had a house with extremely high ceilings so we could have trees that would normally grace a community hall. I had plenty of baubles. And then .....

    I moved into an office right next to a fairly upmarket smallish department store. Couldn't dream of buying even one of their eye-wateringly expensive German glass decorations. Until the post Xmas sales - suddenly the prices were "tolerable". I bought whole boxes of the things. And kept on doing it for a few more years. And it became a habit.

    As evidenced by the suitcases full of the things lurking in the ceiling, just waiting for their annual few weeks of showing off.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Oh dear, must be the time of year. I forgot my one true overpowering collection vice. Christmas decorations.

    I was always keen on them, and we had a house with extremely high ceilings so we could have trees that would normally grace a community hall. I had plenty of baubles. And then .....

    I moved into an office right next to a fairly upmarket smallish department store. Couldn't dream of buying even one of their eye-wateringly expensive German glass decorations. Until the post Xmas sales - suddenly the prices were "tolerable". I bought whole boxes of the things. And kept on doing it for a few more years. And it became a habit.

    As evidenced by the suitcases full of the things lurking in the ceiling, just waiting for their annual few weeks of showing off.

    I find what your saying quite interesting, because what you have said about your book collection and the christmas decorations have very practicle purposes. I find in general that the things that many people collect, myself included, have no real practical purpose. To me the idea of collecting seems less about what people are collecting and more about the pleasure gained from obtaining another ojbect.

    It seems to be a compulsive behaviour that if unchecked, in somecases, can get out of hand like in the beanie babies example listed, and yet in moderation is still very pleasureable for many. I'm wondering if it can be compared with say gambling for the way it can have an effect on people.

    What also fascinates me is what and why people choose the things they do to collect, I'am drawn to things that are pleasing to the eye, or things that are bold and stand out. But people seem to collect almost anything you can imagine. Where does that urge come from? I just find the whole idea of some aspects of human behaviour really interesting.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Hmm, interesting. The art of collecting. I think the things you collect tells a lot about your personality. I kind of collected trading cards (magic), yes it's nerdy. Also classic scale model cars, when i was young, still have about a hundred of them. I also had a collection of cigar wrappers, bottle caps, coasters, paperclips, everything. But when i got 16, i threw most of it out.

    Ive always figured out all my stuff were usefull to some point... At least, worth some cash when i could find one to trade them to. Same with stamps. I had it valued at 20.000 euro's about 10 years ago (from inheritance). I added a few, valued probably 200 euro's. And now, 10 years later, it's worth about 200 euro's. The whole market crashed for it. Well some really fanatics want to buy it for 5000, but looking back, thats simply not worth doing.

    I think, due to the fact that your learning the value of things, it's an asset. But the greed, or hoarding that may accompany it, is bad. It must balance.

    Edit: Oh rocks, i collect minerals, still do. Also have a wide collection of second world war tank, and rifle shells.. Hmm. Really i tried everythings..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    But people seem to collect almost anything you can imagine.
    Some of these collections start by pure accident. Some friends of ours bought 'matching' miniature souvenir teapots when they revisited the area where they'd grown up. Family and friends started adding to the collection with gifts, they started looking in antique shop windows.

    20 years later they've lined, insulated and fitted out a "shed" with well-lit shelving all round to display an amazing collection.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    But people seem to collect almost anything you can imagine.
    Some of these collections start by pure accident. Some friends of ours bought 'matching' miniature souvenir teapots when they revisited the area where they'd grown up. Family and friends started adding to the collection with gifts, they started looking in antique shop windows.

    20 years later they've lined, insulated and fitted out a "shed" with well-lit shelving all round to display an amazing collection.
    One thing that I like about collections though, is something you've really highlighted there, is that if your family and friends know you collect something it gives a great opportunity for presents. It's also something that almost everybody can relate to as most people have the urge at some time to collect something.

    I think there is another side to it as well, I think it fulfills a basic need for acheivement, people get pleasure from the sense of accomplishment of aquireing new objects. It's also the sense of pride of a collection and being able to display and have other people admire it.

    The more I think about it the more I think it doesn't really matter wether you're collecting picasso's or beer mats the same satisfaction is still derived and it's still the same urge that drives the desire to collect in the first place.

    Though it is worth noting that there seems to be another class of people out there that collect for an entirely financial motive, though wether these people actually derive any genuine pleasure from the items they collect is an interesting question.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Hmm, interesting. The art of collecting. I think the things you collect tells a lot about your personality. I kind of collected trading cards (magic), yes it's nerdy. Also classic scale model cars, when i was young, still have about a hundred of them. I also had a collection of cigar wrappers, bottle caps, coasters, paperclips, everything. But when i got 16, i threw most of it out.

    Ive always figured out all my stuff were usefull to some point... At least, worth some cash when i could find one to trade them to. Same with stamps. I had it valued at 20.000 euro's about 10 years ago (from inheritance). I added a few, valued probably 200 euro's. And now, 10 years later, it's worth about 200 euro's. The whole market crashed for it. Well some really fanatics want to buy it for 5000, but looking back, thats simply not worth doing.

    I think, due to the fact that your learning the value of things, it's an asset. But the greed, or hoarding that may accompany it, is bad. It must balance.

    Edit: Oh rocks, i collect minerals, still do. Also have a wide collection of second world war tank, and rifle shells.. Hmm. Really i tried everythings..
    It's funny how some of the items you mention can and do turn out to be valuable. It seems that mass produced items can become valueable because people don't really attach any value to them at the time so many of them are thrown away. A really good example of this is toys, for years many toys would get damaged and then simply end up getting thrown away. This trend seems to have come to an end though in recent years as people have started to cotton on to the value of old toys.

    The biggest cons seem to be companies trying to convince people that there latest creation will become valuable over time because it is a 'limited edition', which in most cases just isn't so as virtually none of these items ever gets thrown away.
    Last edited by Ascended; June 19th, 2012 at 12:48 PM. Reason: missed a word
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    It's funny how some of the items you mention can and do turn out to be valuable. It seems that mass produced items can become valueable because people don't really attach any value to them at the time so many of them are thrown away. A really good example of this is toys, for years many toys would get damaged and then simply end up getting thrown away. This trend seems to have come to an end though in recent years as people have started to cotton on to the value of old toys.

    The biggest cons seem to be companies trying to convince people that there latest creation will become valuable over time because it is a 'limited edition', which in most cases just isn't so as virtually none of these items ever gets thrown away.
    A mint condition game-boy (yes, the first one) with box is about 1400 euro's. In 20 years, it increased in value about 20 fold (taken inflation into account). It would have been the best investment since microsoft.

    A unopened magic the gathering Alpha or Beta box, is worth about 40.000 euro's. 20 year ago, it was worth about 80 euro's... that's a LOT of change in value (500x). Collectibles work. You just have to know how to invest.
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    It's funny how some of the items you mention can and do turn out to be valuable. It seems that mass produced items can become valueable because people don't really attach any value to them at the time so many of them are thrown away. A really good example of this is toys, for years many toys would get damaged and then simply end up getting thrown away. This trend seems to have come to an end though in recent years as people have started to cotton on to the value of old toys.

    The biggest cons seem to be companies trying to convince people that there latest creation will become valuable over time because it is a 'limited edition', which in most cases just isn't so as virtually none of these items ever gets thrown away.
    A mint condition game-boy (yes, the first one) with box is about 1400 euro's. In 20 years, it increased in value about 20 fold (taken inflation into account). It would have been the best investment since microsoft.

    A unopened magic the gathering Alpha or Beta box, is worth about 40.000 euro's. 20 year ago, it was worth about 80 euro's... that's a LOT of change in value (500x). Collectibles work. You just have to know how to invest.
    Yes, that's something I never really did understand about toy collectors and you've brought it up as well, why is a box of any real significance? I don't get it, surely the collectors are collecting the item inside. If someone was a box collector and genuinely had a thing for boxes I could understand it. To me the idea that someone has enjoyed or loved something has much more appeal than something someones never taken out of it's box.

    I don't understand autograph hunters either, can't get my head around that one. There seems nothing there, it's not art, it has no function it's just a scribble in most cases and yet they still seem to give people pleasure. Must just be that sense of acheivement in having obtained a signiture I suppose.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
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    The reason the box is so important to many collectors is because it means that, usually, the toy inside has been untouched. This increases the value significantly. Example. A vintage 1985 megatron transformer out of the box in good condition is worth a few hundred US dollars. A Megatron in the box is worth a couple thousand US. Part of it is that when a kid plays with a toy what happens usually to the box? It gets thrown away. This makes some boxes rarer than the toys they hold.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant View Post
    The reason the box is so important to many collectors is because it means that, usually, the toy inside has been untouched. This increases the value significantly. Example. A vintage 1985 megatron transformer out of the box in good condition is worth a few hundred US dollars. A Megatron in the box is worth a couple thousand US. Part of it is that when a kid plays with a toy what happens usually to the box? It gets thrown away. This makes some boxes rarer than the toys they hold.
    I seem to remember having a few transformers myself as a kid, can't remember what happened to them though, shame. I guess then there really should be a whole toy box market in itself. I wonder what things on sale now will be valuable in 30 years time.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    If that's something that you enjoy, and it doesn't interfere with your life, why would it be considered a bad habbit?
    First judge yourself. Then proceed to judge the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leukocytes View Post
    If that's something that you enjoy, and it doesn't interfere with your life, why would it be considered a bad habbit?
    I was trying to find a way to make a judgement on something, that is actually an extremely mild form of mental ilness. Collecting by it's self just for the sake of collecting doesn't have any real practical purpose. But all that said it is a 'hobby' and does make people happy. So I suppose it's really about waying up the pros and cons.
    Also I really quite enjoy hearing about what other people collect and why.
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    I think that it has become a hobby within humans. Don't we collect things daily without even noticing?
    Also, a thought came to my mind that humans aren't the only one collecting things. Like dogs burying bones in the yard, or chipmunks storing food, and etc.
    Perhaps it's just an instinct that lies in us humans, and possibly many other animals.
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    I think we surround our selves with things, but I think that is a little different than actively making collections and spending time and effort to seek out new items to add to those collections. I don't see animals collecting things for the same reasons as humans though, most animals seem to act for more practical reasons they are also more driven by instinct, such as hoarding food or things to make nests from. That said as to why magpies collect shiny things I no idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    To me the idea that someone has enjoyed or loved something has much more appeal
    Because it reflects that person's spirit, right?

    I collect people's collections. After they've died. Woo. It's not the valuable or useful things I want, it's the worthless and sometimes baffling objects they'd have only saved for sentiment: A jar of seashells and chestnuts, top shelf of an otherwise spartan kitchen. A gull's feather in an envelope in a closet shoebox of old letters. I figure the sentimental value must have exceeded the irrationality of keeping it. I also try to find the tool a person preferred and handled most through life. I'm trying to save what is most personal, but not personal in the sense of private - "spirit" seems the best word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    To me the idea that someone has enjoyed or loved something has much more appeal
    Because it reflects that person's spirit, right?

    I collect people's collections. After they've died. Woo. It's not the valuable or useful things I want, it's the worthless and sometimes baffling objects they'd have only saved for sentiment: A jar of seashells and chestnuts, top shelf of an otherwise spartan kitchen. A gull's feather in an envelope in a closet shoebox of old letters. I figure the sentimental value must have exceeded the irrationality of keeping it. I also try to find the tool a person preferred and handled most through life. I'm trying to save what is most personal, but not personal in the sense of private - "spirit" seems the best word.

    I can understand and I like that, it seems nice that sometimes other people can appreciate that same sentimental value that the original owners attached to their objects. Whilst in general there is some evidence for this with collectors of items belonging to famous people, to often oridinary people's item's of little intrinsic values are so often overlooked.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

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    I have quite a large drawer full of crap i collected over the years, all colorfull, mostly out of batteries electronic devices. Some i bougth, some i litterally found somewhere. It's quite pathetic i know.

    Someone has a human scalp collection?
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    I have quite a large drawer full of crap i collected over the years, all colorfull, mostly out of batteries electronic devices. Some i bougth, some i litterally found somewhere. It's quite pathetic i know.
    Have you ever had this strange inkling that you understood ravens?
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
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