If you’re like me, when you discover something new that you really enjoy you want to immerse yourself in it. While this can be as simple as watching every episode of of a TV series, listening to every song by a particular band or reading every book by a particular author, sometimes it can grow into something far greater — a collection.
So what if you do find something you absolutely adore and you want to surround yourself with it? How do you start figuring out the best way to attack this new collection? Well, here I’ve detailed the steps I go through when I’ve decided I want to start a new collection.
What’s Out There?
The first step I always take is to see what kind of stuff is our there. If you’re collecting something that has been going for a long time, say a long-running character, chances are there is a heap of stuff out there for you collect. If it’s something relatively new there may not be much at all. Whatever the case, it’s a good to get an idea of what you’ll be looking for. I’m not saying make a note of every item that’s available but certainly do so for those that interest you.
How Expensive is this Going to Be?
While some may scoff at the idea of a collector worrying about cost, in today’s world I think this is something you really need to take into consideration. If the only things released to be part of your chosen collection are high-end statues for example, you may want to consider if you’re prepared to spend that kind of money. Conversely if you are happy to spend that kind of money, how long will it take you to earn/ save the cash you’ll need? If those items stop being produced before you can get to them how will they fare on the secondary market? Will they even appear on the secondary market if they are specialised and those that have them want to keep them.
What is the Secondary Market Like?
The secondary market is of course a very important place for collectors. Unless you are loaded or not much comes out or doesn’t come out with huge regularity for your chosen collection, chances are you’ll miss some things upon release. Once items are past their store shelf date it can be hard to determine what the secondary market for them will be like. They might be scarce, or they might be everywhere. In some cases their prices may shoot up above their original store prices while others come down. It’s a good idea to try and get a sense of what the secondary market for your chosen collection is so you know what picking up older or missed items will involve.
Have a Collection Focus
Early in my collecting “career” I’d rush out and buy everything I could related to my chosen collection with absolute abandon. (Actually, I still do to an extent.) However, it’s a good idea to have a focus for your collection, especially if there is a lot of stuff out there for it. I’m not saying only choose one kind of item and only collect that, but maybe concentrate on one or two things until that part of the collection is complete and then move to another. This can be very helpful if you’re trawling through secondary market sources such as eBay so you don’t become overloaded with items to try and pick up. It can also be a big help to your budget if you’re only spending your money on one particular set of items rather than everything you can get your hands on (of course, this needs immense will power…something I do not posses).
Catalogue as You Go
The easiest way to catalogue your collection is to do it as you go. Yeah, I know that cataloguing can be boring (for some, the rest of us love it) and it can sometimes feel like work, but trust me, it’s a lot easier to catalogue items when they are new and close at hand. Digging through boxes and cupboards and wardrobes for stuff is not fun. If you are serious about your collection cataloguing is actually one of the most important things you can do. Not only does it keep an accurate record of your items so you don’t accidentally buy the same thing twice, but it can also help you claim insurance on those items if anything were to happen to them. This is very valuable once you’ve sunk the kind of money into it we collectors tend to.
Those are my tips on how to ease yourself into a new collection. If you’re a seasoned collector you may already have a system that works for you, but I hope that you find these helpful in some way.