Friday, February 24, 2017

Closet collectors

While looking for something else, I came across a blog post from 2013, "Some Advantages of Buying Important Collections Intact," on the David Feldman auction site.
"The old-fashioned 'closet' collectors were often successful in taking decades to build their collections without broadcasting their interests to the world. Buying an important collection or exhibit, and doing so anonymously at auction or by private treaty, is a way to save time, save money, and prevent premature exposure as a collector or exhibitor of the area until you decide the time is ripe!"
I rather doubt that many of the people who use the Scott International Volume One are "closet" collectors, but it does remind me of how the collectors whose comprehensive collections have recently come on the market seem to appear out of nowhere. I suppose dealers and auction houses are aware of them, but to their friends and neighbors they might seem like normal people. (Well perhaps not that normal!) I do recall someone mentioning vis-a-vis the Harmer-Schau private treaty collection that they remembered a secretive worldwide collector who regularly outbid all comers. This is in contrast to people like Bill Gross whose collecting proclivities are well known.


Jim said...

"to their friends and neighbors they might seem like normal people"

Yes, I am usually considered "normal" by those that first meet me. If my spouse then mentions that I am heavily into classical stamps, well the look in their eye changes to...if I can interpret it..."this guy may not be normal". ;-)

ChrisW said...

Whenever I tell someone that I'm a stamp collector, usually the first question out of their mouth is, "what's your most valuable stamp?" Funny, they always seem disappointed when I tell them!

Gene W said...

"to their friends and neighbors they might seem like normal people"

Thankfully my friends KNOW I'm not "normal" in any case, but I don't really talk about the hobby that much. Find that for most people, talking about hobbies they do not share (and this is not just for philately) tends to cause eyes to glaze over and bored looks.

But I'm definitely not a "closet" collector. But then again I tend not to be a "closet" anything in life ;)

DrewM said...

I hardly ever mention that I'm a stamp collector, so maybe I'm a "closet collector." If it comes up in conversation, though, I'd be happy to tell them. Whenever I have, people either aren't much interested or they're only interested in how much my collection is "worth". Talk about a letdown. No questions about why I collect or why I enjoy it. And, I really have no idea how much it's worth. Not much, I imagine. It's a lot like someone asking how much a painting is worth without ever bothering to look at it much.

I imagine many collectors are "closet collectors" to the extent they don't talk about themselves or their personal interests much. There's not much point in broadcasting your hobbies if people aren't likely to be interested or only care about how much they're worth. And I imagine some people may also be concerned that it might attract the wrong sort of people looking to steal from them.