Collecting items related to a particular interest or hobby has been a popular pursuit for thousands of years.
As varied as the human imagination allows, collectors have assembled treasures ranging from seashells to supercars. Yet despite the diversity of objects, collecting itself offers some common motivations and rewards. For many, it becomes a lifelong passion.
Let’s explore what collecting entails as a hobby, its benefits, and how novices can start their compelling collections.
What is Collecting?
Collecting refers to the hobby of seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining items that are of interest to an individual collector. Collections can consist of any items, including:
- Movie memorabilia
- Comic books
The items collected are not necessarily expensive or rare, but they must have some value to the collector. The phenomenon of collecting has existed for thousands of years, with evidence from ancient civilizations like China, Egypt, and Persia.
What Makes Collecting Enjoyable as a Hobby?
Collecting provides enjoyment as a hobby for various reasons:
- Sense of Purpose – Building a collection gives a sense of purpose. There is satisfaction in seeking and hunting down items to add to the accumulation.
- Stress Relief – The process of searching for treasures is relaxing. It takes the mind off every day worries.
- Learn New Things – Collecting sparks curiosity to learn about new topics. The collector gains in-depth knowledge about their chosen subject.
- Social Connections – Those with similar interests unite in clubs or groups to share their passion. Friendships develop around the mutual hobby.
- Satisfaction – There is an innate satisfaction in finding, researching, and categorizing each piece. Completing sets and filling in gaps in a collection brings a sense of joy.
- Express Individuality – The themes and items chosen reflect the collector’s personality and interests. It allows self-expression.
- Leaves a Legacy – Collections often get passed down through generations. It creates something meaningful to leave behind.
Types of Collecting
Some major categories of collecting interests include:
Coins and Currency
Coins, paper money, and banknotes are popular collectibles. Rarity, age, condition, and precious metal content determine value.
Stamps and Postal History
Stamp collecting remains a leading hobby around the world. Postmarks and first-day cover also hold interest.
Toys and Figurines
From toy soldiers to action figures, these evoke nostalgia and allow adults to retain a sense of childhood. Limited editions are valued.
Books and Comics
First editions and signed copies of favorite books or comic books are sought after. Pristine condition copies bring high prices.
Records and Music Memorabilia
Vinyl records have seen a resurgence among collectors. Vintage concert posters and band autographs also gain in value.
Sports Cards and Memorabilia
Cards, jerseys, and equipment related to favorite sports stars are hugely popular items. Rarity and grading impact value.
Antiques and Vintage Items
Anything over 100 years old, like furniture, jewelry, decorative items, and curiosities from past eras. Provenance establishes authenticity.
Art and Photography
Paintings, prints, signed limited editions and photographs by renowned artists are collected by enthusiasts and investors.
Glassware and Ceramics
From crystal to pottery, items like art glass, porcelain, and antiques are admired for craftsmanship.
Memorabilia and Nostalgia Items
Any objects that provoke nostalgia can be collected, like vintage advertising, old toys, and games, neon signs, etc.
Ethnic Arts and Crafts
Traditional handicrafts and folk art linked to cultural heritage are popular collecting areas. Examples are Native American pottery and African masks.
Where Can I Find Items to Collect?
The thrill of collecting is seeking out hidden gems. Here are places avid collectors search to add to their stash:
- Online auction and sales platforms – eBay, Etsy, and auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s regularly list collectibles.
- Specialty online retailers – Sellers like Apmex, StockX, and Cardboard Connection that focus on coins, cards, records, etc.
- Local auction houses – Many cities have smaller auction houses that get consignments of antiques, jewelry, art, and various collectibles.
- Traditional auction houses – The major auction houses hold regular fine arts, antiques, and collectibles auctions in locations worldwide.
- Estate sales and garage sales – Sometimes valuable antiques or vintage items can be found for bargain prices at these informal sales.
- Collectibles fairs – Cities host fairs for coins, stamps, postcards, and paper collectibles. Comic book conventions showcase all kinds of memorabilia.
- Specialized retail stores – Brick-and-mortar stores for coins, sports cards, music, books, comics, and other niches.
- Museums and galleries – Limited edition art prints, photography, and specialty items related to museum exhibits are often sold.
How To Get Started Collecting As a Hobby?
Collecting is easy to get started. Follow these steps to begin your rewarding hobby:
Choose a Category – Select a subject that you find intrinsically interesting. It helps sustain long-term motivation.
Research and Learn – Read books and talk to experts to gain knowledge about your chosen collecting niche. Understanding details and background information on items makes collecting more fulfilling.
Set a Budget – Decide how much you can realistically spend on your hobby. Collecting costs can range from modest to extremely expensive.
Find Your Focus – You don’t have to collect everything about a topic. Decide if you’ll specialize in certain items, brands, periods, or other criteria.
Go Hunting – Search collector shops, garage sales, estate auctions, thrift stores, and online marketplaces to start acquiring items. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
Catalog Your Finds – Keep an organized inventory with details about each collectible. Pictures and descriptions document your expanding collection.
Care for Your Collection – Make sure pieces are properly cleaned, maintained, and stored to preserve condition and value. Handle with care.
Find a Community – Join clubs or online discussion groups to connect with fellow collectors who share your passion.
Display Your Collection – Curate and exhibit your most meaningful pieces so you and others can enjoy looking at your treasures.
How Do I Store and Display My Collection?
Once acquired, collections require proper care for protection and presentation:
- Archival quality boxes, albums, and supplies help safeguard without damage. Acid-free materials are ideal.
- Shelving, cabinets, frames, and displays showcase collections attractively while keeping them organized and dust-free.
- Controlled temperature and humidity prevent fragile items from being damaged. Avoid direct sunlight which causes fading.
- Rare and high-value pieces may warrant off-site bank vault storage for security.
- Inventory details document what is in the collection and where items are located for easy access.
- Digital catalogs with photos provide backups if catastrophe strikes. Cloud storage protects images.
- Security measures like alarms, locks, and video surveillance are necessary to safeguard expensive collections. Insurance policies can offset losses.
- Hands-on handling should be minimized for fragile artifacts. Cotton gloves prevent skin oils from rubbing off.
- Proper cleaning and repair maintain condition but requires specialized knowledge to avoid missteps. Expert appraisers can advise collectors.
How Do I Make Money From My Collection?
Collecting as a hobby can sometimes generate income:
- Selling Rare Finds – As collections grow, high-demand pieces that come along can bring sizable profits in private sales or auctions. Unique specimens like stamps or baseball cards can command top dollar if the condition is pristine.
- Becoming a Vendor – Collectors amass expertise on pricing, demand, and sources. Some open antique shops or become dealers supplying fellow collectors through websites, trade shows, or auction consignments.
- Offering Appraisal Services – Experienced collectors develop a keen eye for identifying and assessing the real market value of items in their specialty. These skills are marketable as a paid appraiser.
- Authentication Services – For high-end markets like art or sports memorabilia, collectors can earn fees validating the legitimacy and provenance of prized artifacts. Special access or testing may be required.
- Creating Informational Content – Avid collectors become subject experts. Monetizing this knowledge by writing collector guides, giving paid talks, or producing YouTube videos can generate side income.
- Investing for Appreciation – Some collectibles like fine art, precious metals, and antiques can increase substantially in value over decades. Profitable long-term investing requires expertise.
While earning money from collecting is possible, treating it solely as an investment scheme rather than a passion is likely to end in disappointment. For most collectors, the real payoff comes from the enjoyment of the hobby.
Challenges of Collecting as a Hobby
While infinitely rewarding, collecting does present some challenges including:
- Expense – Desired items get progressively more costly over time. Budget wisely.
- Availability – Key items may simply be unavailable or in very limited supply. Patience and persistence matter.
- Storage space – Collections take up considerable secure display and storage room.
- Organization – As collections grow, detailed cataloging and organization become essential.
- Thin resale market – Some niche items have few interested buyers, may not appreciate, and could be hard to liquidate.
- Counterfeits or alterations – Forged, faked, and manipulated collectibles abound. Ensure authenticity.
- Damage risks – Environmental and human dangers can destroy irreplaceable items if not protected.
- Shifting interests – A collector’s enthusiasm can change over decades. Early finds may no longer fit in.
- Family interest – Will younger generations share the collector’s passion? If not, collections may be donated or sold.
Despite challenges, millions find collecting so rewarding it remains a lifelong avocation. The key is maintaining perspective, discipline, and balance.
How Can I Learn More About Collecting?
Part of collecting’s appeal is the ongoing opportunity to expand one’s knowledge. Options for deepening collectors expertise include:
- Join clubs – Clubs exist for almost every specialty from dolls to beer cans. Trade newsletters and attend meetings.
- Visit collector conventions – These bring together buyers, sellers, and experts. Look for lectures or seminars.
- Read collecting magazines and books – Subscribe to niche publications. Reference books offer history and tips.
- Research online – Collector forums, articles, videos, and podcasts offer endless free education.
- Take classes – Some adult education programs offer collecting appraisal or antiques courses.
- Watch TV programs – Shows like Antiques Roadshow provide appraisal information and background.
- Volunteer at museums – Opportunities exist to assist curators, handle collections, or do research.
- Get a mentor – Having an expert guide you can accelerate learning exponentially.
- Practice appraising – Appraising fellow collectors’ items tests and builds knowledge.
- Visit museum collections – Seeing real artifacts provides insight into objects of interest.
- Listen to collector interviews – Podcasts regularly feature expert collector guests.
In conclusion, collecting is a rewarding lifetime hobby that provides intellectual and personal fulfillment regardless of monetary value.
Passion and dedication drive collectors to search out rarities and precious objects. As expertise develops, the hobbyist finds an appreciative community, gains broader knowledge, and revels in building a reflection of their identity and interests through their collection’s continual growth.
Whether one collects Pez, pottery, or Picassos, the collecting journey brings excitement and meaning.
Is Yoga Considered a Form of Collecting as a Hobby?
Yoga’s classification as a hobby is a subject of debate among enthusiasts. While some consider it a leisure activity indulging in physical and mental well-being, others argue it goes beyond mere hobby and becomes a lifestyle. Ultimately, the perception of yoga as a hobby varies depending on individual perspectives and level of commitment.
FAQs about Is Collecting a Hobby?
What is the hobby of collecting called?
The hobby of collecting items related to a particular interest or theme is simply called collecting. It is also sometimes referred to more specifically by the type of object collected, such as coin collecting or stamp collecting.
What do you call someone who likes to collect things?
A person who enjoys the hobby of collecting is called a collector. They may focus on one general area, like antiques, or specialize in a narrow niche, like vintage lunch boxes.
What do you call someone who collects rare things?
A collector who seeks out very rare, unique, or valuable items within their specialty is often described as a serious collector. They may also be called elite collectors or purist collectors if they aim for the highest quality specimens.
What type of personality collects things?
Collectors tend to have curious, meticulous, patient, nostalgic, and adventurous personalities. They derive satisfaction from seeking out treasures, organizing them systematically, displaying them attractively, and continually learning about their area of interest.
Why do people collect things?
People collect for many different reasons. Some may collect as a way to relive their childhood, for others, it might be a desire for creating order and control. Furthermore, many collectors carry forward the hobby of collecting things as they find it to be a fun hobby. Additionally, collecting can be a means of investing, where the collector hopes the value of their collections appreciate over time.
Is it expensive to collect as a hobby?
Not necessarily. The cost to collect as a hobby depends heavily on what you decide to collect. If you collect cars or antiques, then yes, the hobby can be quite expensive. However, if you collect things like postcards, trading cards, or comic books, you may find numerous collectibles at very affordable prices in antique stores, garage sales, or flea markets.