The Collecting and the Dumping

If history is any indication of the future, anything I’m currently collecting is ultimately doomed.

In my life I’ve collected model cars, Star Wars stuff (a technical term), stamps, vintage paper back books, and a few rare books. Now I have a small collection of knives and pens.

I typically start a collection with righteous fervor and very little discretion. The goal is to collect shiny pretty things. Actually, that should be the plan because well made shiny pretty things may actually hold their value, but what ends up happening is I buy what can get my hands on without any consideration toward future value except in the form of “yeah, I’ll totally sell this for a profit some day” without actually knowing what’s worth collecting.

I ended up with milk crates full of plastic wrapped paperback books with cool covers, lots of interesting stamps, lots of plastic model cars and lots of dolls, er, action figures and action figure sets. Now, I have several pens and two small dry boxes full of various knives.

Eventually I reach a saturation point where I just stop caring. It’s as if I move them from point A to point B one time to many and get sick of it all and decide to dump them. This overrides the sentimental value and the sunk cost fallacy, or the hope of making money on the transaction. In the case of model cars, I’d stopped building them and just dumped them to someone I knew would be interested in them. The paperbacks I dumped just to be rid of them.

Occasionally, the energy involved in selling things causes me to keep things I’m no longer interested in. For example, I still have a bunch of stamps partly because I have no clue how to sell them and no interest in wasting any more time on them. (Of course, I haven’t decided to throw them out or give them away yet.)

The only thing I actually didn’t dump was the Star Wars stuff, which I sold at what it was worth to other doll, er, Star Wars stuff collectors at the time rather than at fire-sale prices.

The knives I’ve sold have made their money back partly because a big chunk were acquired at a great price from another collector dumping part of his collection. Now that I know what I like, the things I don’t are on their way out which, for me, is a huge improvement. I’m also looking to sell most of my old pens to keep the collection from growing beyond a handful of pens I can use on a regular rotation.

In the back of my head, though, I’m wondering what my next collection will be.

3 thoughts on “The Collecting and the Dumping

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