Whether as a hobby or an investment, collecting can be quite the discovery process. There is discovery in the actual hunt, yes. But for first time collectors, you may find the biggest discovery occurs after the hunt.
There seem to be two kinds of collectors. We’ll call the first type “the Pirate”. These are the adventurers hoping to find the ever-elusive buried treasure, the rare collectible that commands a pretty penny’s worth. While the thrill of the hunt is exciting, today’s thrill seeker may find the discovery process disappointing. Your modern day “pirate” faces a number of modern day challenges. On foot, the pirate will seek out shop after shop hoping to find that one treasure that’s value has been overlooked by the seller. Not likely to happen. Today’s seller is super savvy. The most extensive resource is at their fingertips via cell phone or computer. You would be hard pressed to find any seller these days that hadn’t done their research. The computer-savvy pirate may decide to venture into the deep waters of eBay and other online sellers of used or vintage merchandise. But our pirate must beware, for those waters are full of online sharks capable of snaring that buried treasure just as quickly. Today’s modern day pirate may find themselves adrift for a while before a true treasure falls into their hands.
The second type of collector we will call “the Sentimentalist”. They’re the dreamers, those driven by passion. Put a vintage lunch box in the hands of a sentimentalist and immediately they’re trying to conjure up the back story. Picture a young boy or girl walking to school with their favorite lunch box. Inside safely locked away is their favorite sandwich, an apple and a Little Debbie snack cake, all placed inside with love by Mom. To the sentimentalist, it’s never about the monetary value of the find. It’s the memory, whether real or imagined.
Collecting is often less about the tangible find and more about the intangible find – discovering who you are and what your true interests are. Whether you’re a pirate or a sentimentalist, collecting can be rewarding. We just prefer to think that the reward is in merely having a piece of history. It is also our belief that every collector has within both the pirate and sentimentalist. Whether for profit or pleasure, there is always the thrill at the point of the discovery. There is the thrill and pride when you do find that buried treasure. But the real joy of collecting seems to be that for every find, you gain a story – a story you can relive again and again every time you have the opportunity to share with others the tale behind your discovery. You see, we collectors seem to be inherent storytellers. And in a world that seems to move faster and faster every day, the real treasure may very well be discovered just inside the door of that little antique store in Smalltown, USA. Right about now a small group is gathered spinning ever-growing yarns of that last precious find. These are the stories and moments to relish in and treasure forever.