Monday, July 23, 2007

Redefining a collection

Over at The Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Blog, Alec Peters discusses his ever-expanding Star Trek collection of costumes and props from Paramount Studios, as sold by It's A Wrap!, and attempts to redefine his hobby.

While my collection of screen-used props is minute by comparison, Alec's analysis was well-timed. I've just spent about three weeks trying to re-hide the most bizarrely random piles of collectibles that literally exploded out of my so-called "Star Trek Shrine", a room dedicated to housing my Star Trek collection but usually also the room into which my aforementioned bizarrely random piles of collectibles get shoved, unceremoniously, as the dinner guests start arriving.

Collecting is an addiction, for sure. It comes with all the same intense highs, intense lows, withdrawal symptoms, and a chronic habit for diverting funds needed to buy food or household bills into buying more stuff, as an addiction to other substances! There is also the overwhelming challenge to "own everything", seek out "first editions" or "lowest numbers" of "limited editions", display it well, and the conundrum of whether to keep things in "mint in mint packaging" condition or just open and play with the items.

Alec says that there are "a few good questions you should ask yourself as you continue to build your collection".

What is your theme or themes?
Do you have one? Do you just buy random stuff you like, or do you have specific collecting interests?

Mmmm. Well, there are the collectible, nostalgic items from my childhood - things that were not considered to be collectibles when they were bought as gifts - such as my game of "Green Ghost", an original "Mousetrap" game, a model of the Dastardly & Muttley's Mean Machine from "Wacky Races", a hand-knitted gonk (the coveted Christmas gift of 1965!) and a glow-in-the-dark "Kooky Spooky", the current eBay prices of which always shock me.

There are also the items I remember allowing to slip from my grasp, in particular my full set of "Batman" gum cards, based on the 60s feature film of the TV series. Sigh.

And the ones that nearly got away: how well I remember the lone radio advertisement... "'Number 96' paperbacks just ten cents each" at a huge Grace Bros. book sale in 1978!

Thus, my "Number 96" memorabilia consists of eight very trashy novelisations, the original novel I had no idea even existed until the night of the "Tonight Live" reunion show in 1993 (when they had it on display, sending me off on the ultimate challenge to find it), several copies of the "'Number 96' Cookbook", with the bound-in iron-on logo still intact, a script in the book "Zoom In", several actual scripts from the set, and my recent purchase of Abigail's 1973 autobiography. I also own Giovanni Lenzi's green deli jacket, bought from the 1977 auction at Channel Ten.

Not long after that, I found myself collecting "View-Master" stereo picture reels, and this interest in 3D led to buying a Nimslo 3D camera, which accompanied me on my 1983/84 US trip.

And, of course, there are my Star Trek collections: (first edition) novels, novelisations, cards, model kits (some never assembled), LP soundtracks (most now duplicated as CDs), action figures (almost all are set free from their packaging) and customised action figures.

And my Star Trek comics led me to an appreciation of other comic titles: "Teen Titans"/"New Titans", "Fantastic Four", "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and "Dreadstar" to name a few.

What is your collecting philosophy?

Probably it has to do with collecting what you like. So many people collect as an investment, but that is so hit and miss. The most unlikely things end up being worth the most.

I'd also maintain that if you stop collecting, you'll definitely lose interest. I'm heard of so many people draw a line in the sand to stop themselves splurging, and they always end up selling, or simply giving away, all that wonderful stuff.


Alec Peters said...

Awesome! I am glad you took my blog to heart!


Andria said...

Nice post! You have said it very well. Keep going.

Therin of Andor said...

Thanks Alec and Andria!