It’s taken the best part of a lifetime but I think I’m getting closer to understanding my propensity to collect almost anything. I don’t know of anyone else in my family who feels the need to hoard ‘things’ quite in the same way and there have been times when I doubted my own sanity given some of the ‘collecting’ that’s taken place over the years: until now. I recently tried to imagine what it would have been like to discover a treasure trove of accumulated paraphernalia or memorabilia from a bygone age. If, say, my parents, grandparents or other family members had taken it upon themselves to ferret away all manner of day-to-day items, newspapers, tickets, jewellery, coins, complete family records with signatures or letters, imagining that one day someone may just find it all quite fascinating: even useful. Of course not all collections are valuable; indeed, most affordable collections are simply that and end up in landfill or charity shop on the event of ones death. Yet how many times have you watched a show like the Antiques Roadshow when a piece of old jewellery that’s been kept at the back of some family cupboard for generations is discovered to have an auction value of £31,000? This did in fact happen to a lady from Market Harborough only in the past couple of months. Someone must have deliberately placed that item where it was found in the full knowledge that one day it may be of incredible use. Of course, this could have been the act of a miser or maybe it was someone with outstanding foresight: we’ll never know. But that doesn’t stop you and I being deliberate in saving a bit of the ‘now’ for future generations. I guess to some extent most people collect something. Magazines, old annuals, Action Man or Barbie dolls. I was more of a coin and Beatles records collector, well, at least that’s where it started. I moved on to National Geographic magazines and
Victorian tie presses. Yet I always liked to have a collection of something that had a beginning and an ending, and not something that could go on forever. Something that was, say, numbered 1 to 100, and not the indefinite frustration of a hobby like collecting postcards, which, lets face it, could go on forever. Though In this circumstance, like my collection of coins, if one specialises then it becomes less frustrating. For example postcards of Kettering or Corby only. Or the popular bawdy saucy seaside cartoon postcards: subjects like golf or cars, that kind of thing. This too could be applied to the ever popular stamp collection. I love old autographs, particularly from the 18th and 19th centuries as I liken them to miniature and affordable antiques. Like my coins they’ve also proved to be a great source of historical education leading to further research. I console myself that someday, in some distant future, someone might benefit from my hoarding. I’m itching to know what you collect.