1. Family heirlooms. For some collectors, all it took to begin their hobby was a piece or two inherited from an ancestor. A pair of unusual, mother-of-pearl of binoculars once owned by her grandmother led one collector to begin searching for antique opera glasses to display with them. Without the initial
"inheritance" of that one odd piece, this collector admits she would have never thought of buying opera glasses.
2. Occupational interest. The "trimmings of the trade" comprise collections for people engaged (or whose spouses or relatives are engaged) in certain occupations. For example, fire station memorabilia holds special interest for someone who worked as a firefighter (or knew someone who did). Other examples include
physicians, dentists, teachers, scientists, railway engineers, pilots, and fishermen.
3. Historic authenticity. Whether they are scholars or just people who'd like to live in the past, some collectors feel that owning three dimensional items from bygone days brings them closer to those times. Many who save Civil War artifacts fall into this category, as do those collecting memorabilia of people who immigrated through Ellis Island at the
4. Sentimental journey. Mom's favorite teapot was the initial inspiration for an owner of an impressive assortments of teapots. This collector's reason for buying was the cluster of fond memories of quiet, intimate times with her mother, chatting over a steaming pot of tea. For such people, the feelings the pieces inspire are more important than their monetary value.
Investment potential. On the opposite side of the coin, the projected value of an item's future worth is the main reason other people collect things. In general, these collectors have done their research on values and market trends for anything they buy. They are less inclined than others to allow their emotions to influence their purchasing decisions.
6. Just decorative. How great it will look in the living room (or dining room, or bedroom) is
sufficient reason for some antiques shoppers to plunk down their cash. For these people, color, contour, or charm supersede monetary value in importance. Unlike investment buyers, these collectors aren't interested in resale potential, but the aesthetic value of their choices give them great satisfaction.
7. Childhood memories. Though many people who buy vintage toys are parents, it's the memory of their own youth, rather than their
children's pleasure, that prompts their purchases. A woman who searches for Ginny dolls and a man who buys old sleds typify such collectors. For them, nostalgia is the overriding reason for buying anything.
8. Personal passions. "I don't know why, but I've just always liked cows," one businesswoman told us. For that reason, her entire home brims with bovine accents. In a similar vein, people with passions for cats, fish, frogs,
turtles, trains, ships, angels, baskets, and quilts gather those and countless other commodities from A to Z. For them, just liking something--pure and simple--is all the reason they need for buying more of the same.
9. Love-to-shop syndrome. "I don't have to have everything," a doll collector told us. "I just need to have one of everything." For people like her, who can easily "shop till they drop," the adventure
of finding something may be just as important as the purchase itself. Collecting may be a great hobby, but shopping is a recreation in a class by itself!
10. Group therapy. As any collector will tell you, collectors are great people! They are resourceful and enthusiastic about their interests and a lot of fun to talk to. For this type of collector, joining collectors clubs, meeting people at shows, and getting to know them via the Internet are what
sustain their purchasing habits.