Sunday, November 14, 2010

Collector's Rationality Disorder

It's amazing what I can convince myself to buy.

It really is.

As a collector of things—particularly things that tend to be expensive—I’m faced with choices every day. Now, granted, they’re not very important choices. Nor are they the most difficult choices to make.

For example, as has been heralded in the media recently, the original art to two historic comic book covers have come to auction. My choice was a simple one. I, like every other collector in the world, want them both. I can afford neither, because the estimates on the pieces are somewhere around $500,000. Each.

See? No choice at all, really, once you think about it for a nanosecond.

But then there are the hundreds of other, smaller choices a collector makes every week, every day. That $200 page that just came to market after being in a private collection for a couple of years. Should I buy it? I might not see it again for a while, if ever.

Or how about that killer Jim Lee page that just popped up on eBay? Should I bid on it? If so, what’s my max? I missed it the first time it was for sale—at a set price—and now its value has more than doubled.

It’ll be an investment.

It’s a good idea.

Just bid on it; it’s not like you’ll actually win it.

Well, what’s the difference between a couple hundred bucks at this point?

Go higher.

Collector’s Rationality Disorder is a terrible, wonderful thing. It’s allowed me to buy things I should never have bought. But I love them dearly, and I am happy to have them. It’s also drained my wallet of its most important assets.

Still, I don’t think I’ve ever gone too far beyond my means, and in doing so, I’ve managed to build a nice collection.

Of course, most anyone I talk to disagrees with me.

Mostly with the “too far beyond my means” part, and the “rational” part of buying what I buy. I think we all have our Things, and comic book art is certainly mine. Collecting the art, for me at least, is much more rewarding and fun than collecting old comics.

It’s to the point where I wouldn’t mind selling off some of my books, so I can pay for more art.

Yes, I know. That’s probably some kind of warning sign. Like any self-respecting collector, though, I’m good at ignoring those.

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