Look up the definition of a collector and you’ll find that it’s a person who collects things. Now that sounds obvious, but it could be done either professionally or as a hobby. It could also be an official who is responsible for collecting money, like a tax collector, or a person on a bus or train who collects tickets from the passengers. Or Bill Henderson, he was a “Collector” in the 60’s till the band changed its name to Chilliwack, but I digress.
Isn’t the English language a wonderful thing? No wonder people trying to learn the language can sometimes get so confused. So many homonyms!
Celebrities have been known to be collectors. Tom Hanks is said to collect typewriters and has over 120 of them. Demi Moore has collected 3000 vintage dolls. Singer Rod Stewart fancies toy trains and it’s said nearly the entire third floor of his home in Los Angeles is dedicated to his model train set.
Some collectors are serious investors. If you’ve ever tuned in to see the Barrett Jackson car auction, you’ve seen some high-level car collectors in action. Some, like comedian Jay Leno, for instance, have extensive car collections worth millions of dollars. They buy and sell, and I guess hopefully make money on the transactions. Deep down, for some, there is a real love for the automobile, and for others, it’s just a financial investment deal, easy come easy go, with no emotional attachment.
But collections, like art, car, coin, and stamp collections don’t have to be worth a fortune. I’m sure the same gratification can come from simple things, like rocks or bottle caps. Rocks and bottle caps? Those items were mentioned in a comedy routine by David Spade. He said that when he was young, his family didn’t have a lot of money, but he wasn’t aware that they were poor. He said he should have realized it when his childhood collection consisted of rocks and bottle caps! Doesn’t cost a dime to have those kinds of collections. Pretty inexpensive! But I’m sure even wealthy families have those kinds of collections.
Witness Moms, Dads, and kids combing the beach for fancy unusual shells or different coloured or shaped rocks. That can be a lot of fun, it can fill a day and not cost you a cent. I know when I’d come back from the beach when our boys were young, my pockets would be weighed down with hundreds of pounds of rock treasures. I guess I had those kinds of collections when I was a kid too. Most kids do.
The list of things people collect is almost endless. Cars, art, coins, stamps, and sports memorabilia are probably the most obvious but what some people collect staggers the imagination. Collections range from A to Z. Z? Yeah, Zippo lighters are very collectible. Legendary disc jockey, the late Jack Cullen had one of the largest record collections in the world which was very valuable. I even know a guy who has a collection of Hawaiian Shirts. Oh wait, that’s me! At last count, there were 120 hanging in the closet. There were more, but over the years many have been donated to charity auctions.
And to show that collections come in all shapes and sizes, my Dad had what could be considered an unusual collection. He collected golf scorecards. He was an occasional golfer who loved the game, and while he didn’t have the money to go and visit all the famous golf courses in the world, he did have the money for a few postage stamps. So he decided to write to the courses and ask if they would send him one of their score cards. And they did. In the end, he had binders full of hundreds of golf scorecards all stored in plastic sleeves, in the same way baseball card collectors store their cards. Was the collection worth any money? I doubt it? That’s not why he was collecting. And I don’t know what became of all those binders. I’ll have to check the attic. And that’s one thing about a collection that was someone’s hobby. Was it meaningful to anyone else? In most cases the answer is probably not, it’s simply done for someone’s own personal pleasure.
So, if you’re a collector for fun or for profit, enjoy! For the rest of us, I paraphrase these words from author Isabel Allende, “We spend the first part of our life collecting things, and the second half getting rid of them!
Until next week...
Watch: Top 10 Weird CELEBRITY COLLECTIONS
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