Why People Collect Things?

Why People Collect Things?

As a young boy, my interests involved collecting a variety of things:  Comic books, rocks, shells, even bugs. It was enjoyable to accumulate many varieties and types of these items.  It was very challenging and fun to seek items which were unique and popular.  It was even fun collecting things other people wanted.

For those of you old enough to remember, Wacky Packages® were popular trading cards in the early 70s which poked fun of food products sold in grocery stores.  They were actively collected by elementary school students. The coveted Choke Wagon card was an example of a very sought after card due to its rarity.  The card was a humorous depiction of Chuck Wagon, a popular dog food of the time. Children were thought to be cool if they owned the card back then.

Guess what?  Nothing has changed for adults.  If it's popular, rare and expensive, affluent adults will demand it.  Whether it's a rare and expensive car, coin or any other collectible, wealthy people will seek it and buy it.  For example, paintings by artists like Picasso, Van Gough and Gauguin, bring well into the millions of dollars.

Mark Rothko's artwork, known for his distinct yet "simple" abstract paintings, commands tens of millions of dollars, with one that brought close to $90 million (2012), consisting of splotches of red, orange and yellow colors.  At the time, it was the highest paid for postwar (WWII) artwork at auction.

What causes such art to bring millions by collectors?  Supply and demand.  The supply may be adequate given the artists, but demand is what really drives the prices in these cases.  Wealthy people feel that they are part of an elite crowd if they own or collect these expensive artworks.

During my later grade school years, my interest evolved into baseball cards and coins.  Baseball cards were fun collecting with my friends, however, my interests quickly expanded into coins.  Owning an attractive silver coin that was over 100 years old hit me strong and became more appealing.  

When you get the collecting bug, it's hard to stop.  Collecting can be an exciting way of learning about the histories of different cultures, civilizations and certain time periods.  The task of assembling a collection and eventually needing to fill a set is exciting and challenging.  Ah, yes, the thrill of the hunt!

These challenges make collecting fun and popular.  In the beginning, forming a collection is usually easy and doesn't require as much money.  Then as you fill the "holes" in a set or grouping (silver dollars, presidential autographs, etc.), it gets more difficult, and thus, more costly.

Keep in mind that as you build a collection, you are also building equity in a fun way.

Whatever you decide to collect, you will soon find out that collecting is fun, rewarding and educational.