You’ll never hear a sadder story. Ricky chewed bubble gum and collected baseball cards from the time he was seven until he graduated from high school. He had all the great ones: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Ricky Henderson (his favorite), Kirby Puckett, and even a rare Satchel Paige. He kept them all in shoe boxes. When he left home, the shoe boxes stayed behind and his mother moved them from place to place until she finally sold them at a garage sale to a man who smirked when he bought the entire collection for $1.50. When Ricky came home for Mother’s Day, mom gave him the buck and a half and proudly told him she had cleared out a bunch of his old junk. That collection had been precious to the young man and he was heartbroken, but he knew it was his own fault, so he just hung his head and thanked her.
Collectors have various reasons for their hobby. For Ricky, it was just fun to have pictures, statistics and background of his favorite baseball players. Some of the cards were rare enough to be worth money to knowledgeable collectors (the guy with the smirk on his face was probably one of them; mom was asking $2 for the collection, but he worked the price down to $1.50), but Ricky had no financial motivation for collecting, just passion.
Some collect to relive their childhoods. They collect dolls, toy cars and trucks, CDs and video games. Some collect out of the insecurity of trying to maintain the past. They will start collecting Confederate flags. Some collect to remember a time of drama in their lives, like collections of army medals, war posters or military memorabilia. For others, collecting is the thrill of the hunt and the sociability along the shopping trail. You will find them poking around and visiting at the flea markets, estate sales and closeouts, buying silver, vintage jewelry and furniture. Some they will keep to wear or use and some they will resell.
Collecting for thousands is a journey in nostalgia - buying and keeping old vinyl records, CDs and movies to play over and over to remember their favorite songs and stars.
Donald Trump is reputed to be a collector of skyscrapers. Why? Because he can afford them. They are profitable and they’re something to brag about.
Bragging rights are big in collecting. For example, people who collect autographs not only have the thrill of meeting a “star,” but they enjoy the autographs and bragging about the whole experience (“he was so nice to me - he looked at me right in the eye”).
Collecting is a great hobby for introverts and quiet children. Collections of coins and postage stamps from all around the world can be pored over for hours of enjoyment in solitude. They probably use magnifying glasses so they won’t miss a detail. For kids, seashells, rocks, snow globes, lunch buckets, colored glass, obsolete toys and children’s books can satisfy their curiosities and stimulate their minds.
Those who can afford it can collect beautiful Hummel figurines (no relative of mine has ever created anything that delicate or precious), silverware, art, rare books, antique furniture, guns, or restored vintage cars. On a lower budget, duck decoys, fishing lures, street signs, bars of soap, back scratchers, thimbles and toasters have amused some collectors.
Look, there is more to life than eating, sleeping, jobs, raising children and cleaning toilets. We all need passion outside the box. Collecting is a great hobby. Go and collect something.